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LCL (Less than Container Load)

LCL (Less than Container Load)
LCL (Less than Container Load)

LCL stands for “less than container load.” The term is used when referring 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. LCL allows carriers to consolidate shipments from various parties, and ship them in the same 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 LCL

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

You may save money on the shipment. Depending on the size of your shipment, LCL can be much cheaper than FCL. Because you will only pay for the volume of your goods, you won’t have to worry about any extortionate flat fees. This method is also much cheaper than air freight. 

You will save on inventory space. LCL can also be a great way to save some money on inventory space. If you have rented space for your goods, you may find you need it less and less when you start using LCL. With LCL, you will be able to ship goods more frequently, and in smaller loads, so you’ll no longer need to pay for a large storage space.

Can be faster than FCL during peak seasons. FCL shipping involves paying for one entire container. During the peak season, this amount of space can be hard to find, and you may find yourself waiting for weeks before a container becomes available. With LCL, you are more likely to find availability for smaller spaces.

An eco-friendly option. LCL follows the principle of consolidation and sharing transport space with other shippers. It’s similar to taking a carpool to work. In this way, LCL is much better for the environment.

The Downsides of LCL

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

More expensive per cubic meter. Depending on how big your shipment is, you may end up paying more than the flat fee for FCL. LCL works best for smaller shipments.

Your shipment may be delayed. It’s possible that your container will run into more delays when you use LCL. Because you are sharing space with another shipment, if these other goods encounter customs delays, your goods will also be delayed.  Shipments also need to be loaded and unloaded from the freight containers, which can add several days to the overall journey.

Your goods are more likely to be damaged. With LCL, your goods will be handled and moved around much more frequently than they would be with FCL. Bear this in mind if you are shipping particularly fragile items.

Can You Ship a Vehicle Using LCL?

Of course you can! In fact, vehicles are commonly shipped in consolidated containers along with other goods that are bound for the same destination. All of the benefits and downsides to LCL apply for vehicles as well. So, if you are in a rush, you may find that LCL won’t work for you. Or, alternatively, if you don’t mind waiting a little longer, save some money by opting for LCL.

Remember, goods shipped LCL have a higher risk of being damaged in the journey. Because your vehicle will be moved around more frequently, it may be dented or scratched in the process. Our carriers, however, are of the highest-quality, and damage is extremely rare. However, if you have a collectible car, you may wish to consider using FCL just in case.

Why Choose Us for Your LCL Shipment?

Here at A-1 Auto Transport, we have decades of experience in the auto shipping industry. We know everything there is to know about shipping a car safely and smoothly, so you won’t have to worry about any of the logistics or details.

At A-1 Auto Transport, we are committed to delivering a high-quality service. Our carriers are always fully licensed and fully insured, so you can relax knowing that your vehicle is in the best of hands. If you’re anxious about its progress, you can always check-in using our comprehensive GPS satellite system that tracks your vehicle in real-time.

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

If you are interested in LCL shipping for your car, we can help! Based on your destination, your vehicle, and your budget, we can talk you through all of the shipment options and help you decide on the best one for you.

Try our free quote generator, or give us a call at 1-800-452-2880 to find out more about our LCL options.

FAQs About LCL Shipping

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

How Much Does LCL Cost?

LCL shipment costs are determined by the volume of the shipment in cubic meters. The more space your goods take up in the container, the more expensive your shipment will be. You may also find that weight is taken into consideration. 

Prices can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, including the length of the journey, the borders crossed, and the value of the goods.

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

Can I Use LCL for Expedited Deliveries?

LCL tends to be a little slower than FCL. This is because other goods in the container can cause delays. The loading and unloading process is also far more complex with LCL, and can often add a few extra days to your journey. 

If you are hoping to ship your vehicle quickly, LCL can sometimes be a good option, if you’re lucky. We can help you to find a free container on the correct route that leaves as soon as possible. However, if there aren’t any upcoming departures, you may wish to ship FCL to reduce your waiting time.

How Should I Prepare for an LCL Shipment?

Once you’ve booked the shipment, you will be notified of a time slot when your carrier will arrive to collect your vehicle. Because LCL shipments operate on a fixed schedule, it’s important that you don’t miss this pick-up slot. 

Be sure to follow our instructions regarding vehicle preparation, and have any paperwork ready to go. If you’re unsure about anything, give us a call, and someone from the team will be able to help.

How Long Will LCL Take?

It’s hard to say exactly how long your LCL shipment will take because there is a wide range of factors that will determine the timing of your delivery. You’ll have to consider the journey distance, the number of border crossings on the route, and factor in some time for loading other goods into the container. 

Remember, you can always use our tracking system to follow your car’s journey in real-time. This way, you’ll be notified of any unexpected delays as soon as possible. This system will give you peace of mind too.

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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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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.

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.

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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