FCL (Full Container Load)

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FCL (Full Container Load)
FCL (Full Container Load)

FCL stands for “full container load.” The term is used in ocean shipping to describe a shimmying load that fills an entire container. This type of shipping is unlike LCL, which refers to small ocean freight shipments that do not require the full capacity of the shipping container. Most containers are either 20ft or 40ft in size. 

What Are The Most Common Container Sizes?

If you are planning a shipment and are hoping to use FCL shipping, you’ll need to ensure you have enough items to fill one of the following sizes:

  • 20’
  • 40’
  • 40’ HC
  • 45’ HC

HC stands for High Cube - these containers are slightly taller than the other containers.

How Much Cargo Fits In Each Of These Container Sizes?

How many cubic meters can fit in each container?

  • 20’ container. This is the smallest available size, with a length of 19’5”, a width of 7’8”, and a height of 7’9 ½”. It can fit 28-29 cbm. The door height is 7’5 ½”.
  • 40’ container. This container has a length of 39’6 ½”, a width of 7’8”, and a height of 7’9 ½”. You will fit 58-59 cbm in this size. The door height is 7’5 ½”.
  • 40’ HC container. This container has the same length and width as the 40’ container, but a height of 8’5 ½”. Its door is also tall at 8’5 ¾”. It will hold 65-68 cbm.
  • 45’ HC container. The largest container size has a length of 45’, a width of 8’, and a height of 9’6”. The door is 8’5 ¾”. It will hold 75-80 cbm.

How Do I Calculate CBM?

Capacity is measured in cubic meters. Your cargo will be measured based on the size of the cartons, the way they are packed, and whether or not it is palletized. Palletized cargo is when your cargo sits atop flat pallet structures. Pallets make it much easier to move the cargo around.

Note that you do not need to fill the entire container if you chose this shipment method. Whether or not the container is filled, you will be able to book this type of shipment if your items fit within the container.

If you are shipping goods in an ocean freight container, you will need to decide whether you want to ship LCL or FCL. Here are some of the pros and cons of this type of shipping.

The Benefits of FCL

Here are a few of the reasons why FCL can be a great shipment method.

Smaller risk of damage. FCL shipping reduces your risk levels. Because the entire container is reserved for your goods, there will be no need for any of the goods to be moved or handled at any point during the process, which reduces the risk of the goods being damaged.

Quicker transit time. In most cases, FCL is quicker than other shipment methods. LCL shipping, or less than container load, means that your container will make more stops along the way. The container is usually delivered directly to its final address as there are no other goods inside it bound for other destinations.

Cheaper for regular shipments. FCL can be more economical if you plan on making regular large shipments. Using this method of shipping, you will be able to ship more goods in fewer containers.

Control over departure times. Because FCL shipping involves securing an entire container, you will have more flexibility about when the shipment leaves port. This is because you won’t need to worry about accommodating the other shipments in the container.

The Downsides of FCL

While there are some great benefits to FCL, there are also a few drawbacks. 

Can be more expensive. FCL requires a flat fee to be paid to secure the full container. Unless you have enough cargo to fill the container, this method of shipment can be more expensive than LCL.

Not suitable for small parcels. If you don’t have a suitable amount of goods to ship, FCL won’t be a viable option for you. This means you may end up waiting long periods between shipments while you accumulate enough cargo for the container.

Can You Ship a Vehicle Using FCL?

FCL is often used for vehicle transport. If you are shipping a single car across the ocean, FCL may be more expensive. However, the method is also safer and quicker than LCL. We recommend using FCL shipping for expensive cars or for car shipments with specific timing requirements.

Why Choose A-1 Auto Transport for Your LCL Shipment?

Here at A-1 Auto Transport, we have decades of experience behind us in the auto shipping industry. We are dedicated to shipping your car safely and making the process as smooth as possible. You won’t have to worry about any of the logistics or details if you choose to ship with us.

At A-1 Auto, we are committed to delivering a high-quality service. Our carriers are always fully licensed and fully insured, so you can rest assured in the knowledge that your vehicle is in excellent hands from start to finish. If you’re anxious about the progress of your shipment, you can always use our comprehensive GPS satellite system to track your vehicle in real-time throughout each stage of the journey.

Find Out More About Shipping FCL With A-1 Auto Transport

If you are interested in FCL shipping for your car, we are here to help! Based on your destination, your vehicle, and your budget, we will be happy to discuss all of your shipment options and help you to decide which is best for you.

A-1 Auto Transport ships worldwide.

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FAQs About FCL Shipping

Still have some questions about how FCL shipping really works? Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about FCL.

How Much Does FCL Cost?

Costs can vary depending on a range of factors. Depending on the size of the container you need, the distance of the journey, and the weight of the shipment, costs can vary greatly. 

If you want to learn more about our FCL options, please contact us today, and one of our knowledgeable customer service advisors will be able to give you a quote.

Can I Use FCL For Expedited Deliveries?

FCL is the best option for time-sensitive shipments. Because it’s much quicker than LCL, it is usually the preferred method for expedited deliveries. FCL gives you more options, such as when the shipment leaves and when it arrives at your door.

How Should I Prepare for an FCL Shipment?

You should prepare your vehicle to be shipped by washing it, servicing it, and taking stock of any current damage. Be sure to pay close attention to our instructions regarding pick-up and drop-off to make the process as smooth as possible.

How Long Will FCL Take?

Journey time depends on distance traveled, and borders crossed. We will be able to give you a close estimate of when you can expect your delivery. You can also follow your vehicle’s journey using our state-of-the-art tracking system, so you’ll know exactly when to expect delivery.


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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.


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Testimonial
Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Testimonial
Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!
★★★★★

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
★★★★★

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

Testimonial
David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!
★★★★★

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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