Key Characteristics of LCL Shipping

Aside from choosing the right forwarder to manage your LCL shipment and understanding rate structures, there are some other things to know before deciding if this shipping method best meets your needs. For example, the following LCL-shipping characteristics should be borne in mind when making your decision:

Transit Time

An LCL shipment typically takes longer than FCL to get from origin to destination. Expect to add between five and eight days to the total transit time. This is because:

  1. Your shipment must first go to a consolidation warehouse, where it will be combined with the other shipments that will accompany it in a container.
  2. After a few days waiting for consolidation, the container will be transported to the port and loaded onto a vessel.
  3. After arrival at the destination port, the container will move on to another warehouse, where your shipment will be separated from the others, before being released for transportation to its final destination.

Shared Responsibilities

When you choose LCL shipment, remember that all customers with goods in the same container, share responsibility for trouble-free transit of the cargo. This is important to understand, because any paperwork discrepancies or other issues will result in the entire container being held up, delaying shipment of all the customers’ goods inside.

Number of Touches

Another thing to remember about LCL shipments is that they are typically touched more often than those in a full container load. For example, your goods will be:

  • Loaded onto a truck at your own facility
  • Unloaded at a consolidation warehouse
  • Loaded into a container at the consolidation warehouse
  • Unloaded from the container at the destination consolidation warehouse
  • Loaded onto a vehicle for transport from warehouse to final destination
  • Unloaded at their final destination

That’s obviously a lot of handling, increasing the risk of damage or loss to some of your goods. Therefore, it is very important to package your goods well. You might also want to consider insurance for any shipment that will travel in an LCL container.

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