What Is FCL & When Should You Select FCL Shipping For Your Cargo?


FCL is a common term used in transportation under import and export business trade which stands for Full Container Load. FCL is an ISO certified container that is loaded and unloaded under the account of one shipper and only one consignee.FCL shipments are suited to those who need to transport large quantities of goods.

What is Full Container Load?

FCL means you have the entire container to yourself. This means that FCL is a transportation of the shipment with a whole container assigned specifically for the customer. The cargo which is exported and imported has exclusive use of the container space and does not have to share. Thus, the customer in FCL shipping has more flexibility and control over the cargo and can ship their goods safely. Even if the container is not fully occupied, it is an economical option as compared to LCL or other types of shipping.

When should FCL shipping be used?

Here are a few points that one should follow while deciding to choose FCL shipping:

  • Shipment volume refers to the cubic capacity of goods that are needed to be transported. This is generally measured in cubic meters and cubic feet. When the worth of goods sent by the exporter is more than ten standard pallets or 14 cubic metres, then this shipping method can be used. The goods above this volume may be shipped at a lower price via FCL.
  • The shipper who is sending the goods wants their cargo to be safe and secure. All shipments do not require the same amount of security. Certain shipments are more sensitive towards movements and changes. For this reason, choosing FCL shipping is a good option. With FCL, the goods are not in contact with the cargo from other shippers. This translates to having a lower risk of being damaged. In this way, the sender can protect their cargo using FCL shipping.
  • Shippers generally plan their shipment beforehand. However, sometimes it is possible that there is an urgent requirement for shipping goods, and this can cause a problem. The transit time for FCL shipping is shorter as it does not go through multiple hubs. Like super-fast trains on land, FCL shipping is considered to be the express of waterways. One can easily fast track their shipments and reduced the transit time with FCL shipping.
  • If the shipper needs bulk goods to be sent, they can easily do so. As FCL shipping means a whole container is exclusively assigned to the shipper, the shipper can decide whether or not to load the container completely. This helps in transporting bulk goods in a single shipping journey. The shipper can also send different types of goods as per their discretion in a single container.
  • Shipping costs is one of the significant factors to be considered while shipping goods. FCL is comparatively a cost-effective option. Like a house or a flat is priced per square feet, the space of the container is priced in cubic centimetres. FCL provides a faster shipping facility which is also taken into consideration for shipping charges. These factors are essential elements for calculating the shipping charges. The components provided by FCL shipping are beneficial in terms of cost. The cost is optimized with an FCL shipment.

Full Container Load (FCL) is used in the Ocean Freight Industry for exporting and importing cargo. A full container load attracts lower freight rates than an equivalent break-bulk cargo. FCL is considered a standard container for shipping and can be termed as another name for shipping goods.