Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of those two methods and which method is more efficient to select depending on the situation of shippers.
Since shippers can use the entire container on their own, the risk of losing and damaging cargo decreases, meaning it is very secure and safe. It is possible to predict the transportation time because the freight is loaded solely, and the process for customs clearance is also fast and simple.
Using LCL is advantageous for goods with a small volume such as light-weighted products and samples. LCL can also be used when transporting small freight to various destinations.
However, it takes a relatively long time for transportation and customs clearance since shippers who are transporting together should cooperate and adjust with one another. Additionally, there is Consol Time, the process of loading shipments of various shippers into the bonded warehouse in a port of loading or discharge. A warehouse cost is incurred because of this, and an excessive warehouse cost may be charged because the cargo-arriving process of each shipper is different. Moreover, there is a risk of collision or chaos since shipments of various shippers are transported together. Therefore, appropriate packaging, labeling, and protective measures are necessary.
Generally, the size of a 20-foot container is 5.90 m wide, 2.35 m long, and 2.39 m high. When it is converted to CBM, it is 33 CBM. However, the CBM is calculated as a cube, so it does not match the real size of the cargo to be loaded. One should take the dead space and international regulations into consideration, so generally one can load a maximum of 28 CBM in a 20-foot container, and 58 CBM in a 40-foot FCL container.
When transporting cargo with a small amount or when cargo is less than 15 CBM and is not heavy enough to fully fill a container, it can be transported economically by selecting LCL. However, cargo with more than 15 CBM can fill up more than half of a container, so selecting FCL may be more effective and economical.
If a container is too small, cargo either cannot be loaded or overloaded. If a container is too big, the space can be wasted.
When assorting and arranging cargo in a container for LCL, beware so that they are safely loaded and do not interfere with one another. It is important to protect them so that they are not damaged. Additionally, since the LCL is a way of transporting cargo of many shippers together, it is important to flexibly respond as there might be an adjustment in transportation schedules.
The CFS is a facility used for stuffing, devanning, assorting, and storing cargo. It is a place for assorting LCL containers before they are moved to the Container Yard (CY), a bonded area. However, the FCL does not pass this area.
Since FCL uses one whole container, the transportation from the origin to the destination is completed with one container. Therefore, it saves time as work such as combining and separating containers does not exist. Adding to this, it is advantageous for predicting and managing transportation schedules, so it is appropriate when a designated urgent transportation schedule is necessary.
In addition, selecting LCL may be more efficient than FCL when warehousing in the Amazon FBA warehouse. When using LCL, cargo can be palletized and labeled from the origin following Amazon FBA policies. However, it is difficult to bring the whole container into the warehouse in the case of FCL because of the policies. Therefore, a procedure is needed in the port of discharge to remove container packaging, labeling, and palletizing.
We have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of FCL and LCL, respectively.
FCL is more appropriate when transporting a massive amount of cargo at once and when one is in need of predicting an accurate transportation schedule. On the other hand, LCL is favorable for small cargo or when one needs to transport cargo to various destinations.
Therefore, decide which transportation method to use by carefully identifying the conditions of shippers such as the amount of cargo, freight type, destination, and transportation schedule. Even if the cargo is small, FCL may be cheaper than LCL if the cargo is over 10 CBM, so we recommend comparing quotes.