LCL Shipment

Stacks of shipping containers at a port

Less than Container Load (LCL) is a type of sea freight shipping service that is used to transport smaller quantities of goods. It is typically used when the amount of cargo shipped is insufficient to fill an entire 20ft or 40ft container.

In LCL shipment, your goods are consolidated and transported with items from other shippers in the same shipping container.

Looking to ship some goods overseas? Contact our friendly sales team to find out more about our LCL shipment services!

LCL vs FCL Shipment

LCL and Full Container Load (FCL) shipment are the 2 main types of sea freight shipping. While LCL is commonly used to transport a small number of goods, FCL is the better option for shipping large quantities of cargo.

LCL ShipmentFCL Shipment
Container usageShared among multiple shippersUsed by a single shipper

CostScales with the amount of cargo space required

The larger the space occupied by the goods, the higher the cost of shipping
Charged based on a flat fee for the entire container
Shipping durationTakes 6 - 10 weeks to arrive at the destination countryTakes 3 - 6 weeks to arrive at the destination country
Frequency of shippingMore frequent as consolidation process allows for more shipments to be shipped on a single vesselLess frequent as fewer vessels are available for shipment
Volume of goods shippedSuitable for shipping smaller amounts of goodsSuitable for shipping a large volume of items
Tracking and visibilityPoorer tracking and visibility as goods require consolidation and deconsolidation throughout the shipping processBetter tracking and visibility as all goods on the container belongs to a single shipper


While loose cargo loads are commonly mistaken for LCL cargoes, the two are actually different methods of sea shipping.

Loose cargo loads refer to goods that are not containerised and are loaded onto a ship as individual items. This type of cargo is usually heavy and oversized, and examples include vehicles and heavy machinery.

On the other hand, LCL shipping involves the palletisation of smaller shipments together, which makes for easier handling.

Benefits of LCL Shipping

As compared to other shipping methods, LCL shipments offer benefits such as cost-efficiency, increased flexibility and environmental sustainability.


Shipping via LCL is cost-efficient as shippers are only required to pay for the space occupied by their cargo. By shipping a smaller quantity of goods regularly, shippers can also save on warehousing costs.

Typically, transporting goods via LCL is more cost-effective than air freight and FCL.

Increased Flexibility

LCL shipments tend to have a higher frequency of departures than FCL. This is because multiple small loads are consolidated into a single LCL container, allowing it to be filled up more quickly.

As a result, businesses can ship their cargo as soon as their products are manufactured, and have the flexibility to accept orders on demand.

Environmentally Sustainable

By consolidating several shipments, LCL shipping makes full use of the available space on a shipping container. This efficiency helps to reduce the total number of containers that require transportation, and reduces carbon emissions.

Packaging waste is also kept to a minimum as multiple shipments are packed together and not as individual cargo.

Factors That Affect LCL Shipment Charges

Aside from the standard international shipping fees, such as custom clearance fees and import taxes, here are some other factors affecting LCL shipment charges:

Volume of Shipment

The more space your cargo takes up, the higher the shipment charges.

The volume of your shipment is usually calculated in cubic metres (cbm). Simply multiply the length, width and height of your package to get its volume.

Weight of Shipment

It costs more to transport heavier shipments as compared to lighter ones.

However, the volume of your shipment is a more important criterion in determining your freight charges.

This is because while ships can handle a lot of weight, there is limited space available at any one time.


The longer the distance travelled, the higher the freight charges.

Aside from that, different areas are subjected to differing levels of customs tax and duties, resulting in a variation in LCL shipment rates.

Shipping season

Transporting your items during peak shipping seasons can be more expensive due to the limited amount of cargo space.

As a result of the overwhelming demand, LCL shipment charges may rise. This is especially so for seasons like Christmas.

Exchange rate

LCL shipment charges will also depend on the currency exchange rate. Fluctuations in the exchange rate at the time of the transaction can affect shipping fees.

Price of fuel

A drop in fuel prices can result in a fall in the cost of shipping. Likewise, an increase in the cost of fuel will cause a rise in shipping rates.

Looking for LCL shipment services? Contact our sales team to get a quote from us today!

LCL Shipment Procedure via A Freight Forwarder

A step-by-step guide to LCL Shipping

Step 1: Preparing and Packing of Goods

Pack your goods appropriately to ensure they can be delivered in a safe and timely manner. With proper packaging techniques and labelling, shipping handlers will be better equipped to handle your goods and minimise instances of damage and delays.

Step 2: Choosing a Service Provider

An important aspect of LCL shipping revolves around choosing a trustworthy service provider. When deciding on which company to employ, it is crucial that you take into consideration their reputation, speed of service, reliability and network of warehouses and agents.

Step 3: Consolidating of goods

Once you have settled on a service provider, they will proceed to pick up your cargo and transport it to a consolidation warehouse.

Step 4: Transferring LCL Container to Port

The LCL container will be transported to the port by the freight forwarder once it has been packed and prepared.

Step 5: Transporting of goods

At the port of departure, your cargo will be loaded onto a container ship and transported to its destination.

Step 6: Clearing of Customs

Upon arrival at the destination port, the goods will undergo customs clearance procedures. The shipping service provider will handle the customs clearance process and ensure that all necessary documents are in order.

Step 7: Delivering of Goods

Once customs have been cleared, your goods will be transferred to a warehouse for deconsolidation. You can then choose to collect the items at the warehouse or arrange to have them delivered to your doorstep.

Why choose Haulx Malaysia?

With over a decade of experience, you can rest assured knowing that your items will be safely handled by our team of experts.

We place great emphasis on customer service and strive to meet all your needs. You can expect your queries and concerns to be answered within 1 working day.

FAQs on LCL Shipments

During the consolidation process, your goods will be packed and secured safely with crates or pallets. Padding materials such as bubble wrap will also be used to prevent damage to any cargo during the shipping and handling process.

To further ensure the safety of your cargo, empty spaces within the container may be filled with dunnage to stabilise the goods.

While LCL shipping can accommodate oversized and heavy shipments, it may not be the most efficient or cost-effective option. This is because such cargo can complicate the consolidation process of LCL shipments. Additional fees may also be charged as these goods usually require additional handling and specialised equipment for loading and transportation.

For the delivery of such cargo, opting for a specialised carrier or FCL shipping might be the better alternative.

Yes, LCL shipping can be used to transport hazardous and perishable goods.

However, it is important to check with your service provider to verify whether the specific item you are shipping complies with international regulations such as the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code.

Yes, LCL shipping can be combined with air freight for faster delivery. This type of shipping is often referred to as multimodal transportation, or sea-air freight.

For time-sensitive cargo that requires quick delivery, your goods will be consolidated as an LCL shipment and transported to a sea port at the destination country. Upon arrival, it will be shipped via air freight to its final delivery location.