Global logistics, UK and Ireland distribution, warehouse storage, customised contract packaging and worldwide freight services

Understanding FCL, LCL, FTL, and LTL

8 January 2019

Do you manage a global supply chain that requires heavy shipping?

Outsourcing to a third-party logistics provider can help you cut costs. But with the numerous options at your disposal, you might have a hard time deciding which one would be most suitable for your needs. Understand the differences between FCL, LCL, LTL, and FTL below.

 
FCL
This stands for Full Container Load or Full Cargo Load for when shipping goods across oceans. The two standard sizes for this option are 12 pallets in a 40-foot marine container and 6 pallets in a 20-foot marine container.
 
As its name implies, it’s suitable when you have larger volumes of cargo to transport and want to use the whole space of an ISO-certified container. It provides you exclusive rights to the container from packing to distribution.
 
LCL
Less Than Container Load is where goods from different customers are consolidated into one container. If your consignments are usually less than 30 cubic metres or 6 pallets, this can be the wiser and more affordable option.
 
The process usually goes like this: (1) the weight and volume of your cargo is measured, (2) the length of travel is considered, (3) the fee is completed and agreed on, and (4) the 3PL loads your goods into your section of the container.
 
FTL
Similar to FCL, Full Truckload means you’ll be occupying all the truck’s space and the shipment is exclusively yours. When you have to deliver heavy objects, high risk packages, or bulk consignments across long distances, this option is for you.
 
It minimises the risk of damage to your goods from handling and transferring. Not mention that it streamlines your supply chain as it makes fewer stops along the hub system. Deliveries are done considerably faster so it’s great for meeting high consumer demand.
 
LTL
Less Than Truckload is a ground freight option that combines shipments from multiple customers, like LCL. E-commerce stores and other smaller businesses are sure to benefit more from this option than others as the expenses would be shared with other companies using the container.
 
In cases when you have to make multiple drop-offs or when you don’t handle valuable items, LTL is a cost-effective solution compared to FCL or parcel shipping. Just make sure that your goods are properly packed to protect from transit and handling damage.
 
Now that you have a better idea of the different types of transport and distribution options, you can make wiser choices for shipping.
 
Should you wish to consult with our team regarding freight loads, feel free to send us a message on our contact form.