Deciding Between LCL or FCL?

Deciding Between LCL or FCL?

When you are deciding between shipping FCL (full container load) or LCL (less than container load) you first need to know that a 20’ container has a cubic capacity of 33 cubic meters when filled with air.  So to allow for space to offload your products you would not want to exceed 27 cubic meters.

The things to consider when making a decision about shipping FCL:


When your shipment reaches 14 to 15 cubic meters it is worth considering whether to ship your items FCL.  It is a good idea to ask your freight forwarder to quote you on both options so that you are aware of the differences in cost.

The shape and way in which your products are packed will determine how many cubic meters you can fit into the container.

Although shipping FCL can be more expensive there are some benefits to consider, especially if the difference in cost is minimal.

Benefits of shipping FCL

  • You can save time on delivery as a 20’ container can save you more than a week in transit as it goes direct from port to port.
  • For fragile or valuable items shipping in an FCL container minimises the number of times your shipment is handled. Although it is unusual that items go missing as consolidators are getting better and better at ensuring they take care over shipments.  A number of them photograph the containers and cargo being loaded and unloaded to guarantee that their staff take the correct precautions and care with all cargo.
  • When sharing a container in an LCL shipment, you won’t know what other items will travel alongside your own, therefore there is a chance that these other items could damage your shipment if it is fragile.

It is worth discussing your options with your freight forwarder before coming to a decision as they will be able to give you the best possible advice for you particular items.

Isca Forwarding

Isca Forwarding are a UK based independent Freight Forwarder who have unrivalled logistics experience.  We provide international sea freight, air freight and road freight services for commercial businesses and the personal effects markets.


Unit 6 Newbery Commercial Centre,
Exeter Airport Business Park,


01392 369923          Email

© ISCA Forwarding Ltd. 2018

© 2018 ISCA Forwarding Ltd. All rights reserved.