Knowing common shipping and export terms like LCL vs FCL is an important part of the process of using FBA for your needs. You will find that Amazon FBA offers many benefits to those who use it for their seller needs, but you do need to be aware of what the processes involved are so that you can use this service to save yourself money. There are many ways that Amazon FBA can actually help you save money, but there are some common pitfalls that cause those using the service to actually lose money on some shipping and fulfillment processes.
LCL vs FCL refers to the terms, Full Container Load and Less than Container Load. These terms refer to the shipment processes that are used by container ships to bring goods to and from other countries. Amazon uses container ships just like other companies do, to move goods over the ocean to other countries at a great price. Many of your Amazon FBA goods will potentially be sent through this method to be delivered to the other countries that you sell in.
If you are ready to learn more about LCL vs FCL, read on for more information!
What is FCL?
FCL is the shipping term that refers to Full Container Load. This term means that the shipment will use up all the space of a container. This container will not be shared with any other seller. With an FCL cargo load, you will find that you can send your items in more specific ways. This can be very important if you need to send products refrigerated or with other unique controls.
What Benefits do FCL Containers Offer?
These containers are 20 feet deep or might be 40 feet deep. You will get a variety of benefits from this method of shipping items. These are the benefits of the FCL shipping process:
· Choose between unloading yourself or having the shipper unload or load the container
· Set shipping dates for your container that are more predictable than with shared containers
· Goods that are unloaded all at once time rather than at different times
· Selection of the way to transport the products after delivery
· Reduced risk of damage and loss
· Improved transit times
· Better overview of the shipment
This is a really ideal shipping method if you want to make sure that your products are not damaged during shipping and if you want to be positive that they will be delivered and loaded at set times. This can be a great way to use your shipping controls for large items or fragile items as well as products that need to be refrigerated or packed in specific ways to prevent damage during the shipping process.
What is LCL?
LCL means that the transportation will be done as small ocean-freight shipments. This shipment style does not use the entire capacity of the container. This is also called a consolidated container due to this shared shipping style. This is a more flexible style of using your shipping container arrangements and it can save you money in most cases.
Flexible shipping can allow you to have your smaller items catch a ride with bigger ones that are paying most of the cost of the transport. You will be able to send your goods right away when they are ready to be sent and you will not have to wait until you get a huge shipment together to send.
There are some disadvantages to this style of transport, however. You will find that you might not be able to select what products your products are sent with and this can lead to control issues and cross-contamination of your products. You will also find that some of these containers are not unloaded when you want or in the way that you want. Fixed departures are harder to lock in with this method as well.
While you will save money for this kind of shipping, this might be a tough way to go if you have fragile items to send or if you want to have a lot of control over when the products arrive. This can cause delays in deliveries that you cannot help and damage to more products that would otherwise take place if you were using FCL for your shipment processes.
How to Choose Between LCL and FCL
If you are not sure which method will work best for your needs, you need to consider the weight and dimensions of your shipped items. You might be able to save money and time on your shipments if you are using FCL for larger items or for refrigerated items. If you cannot bring together an entire container worth of your products, then you consider how to make LCL work for your needs.
If you are selling dangerous goods or fragile goods that will not handle cross-contamination or being jostled and moved during the unloading of other products, you will want to consider FCL as your best option. There is nothing like having full control over the nature of your shipment processes and an FCL container will take care of your needs in this regard with ease.
Smaller companies that are just getting started shipping overseas might not be ready to step up to FCL shipping but you will find that you might be able to scale your business quickly enough to get to the point where FCL makes the most sense for your needs. LCL and FCL offer their own benefits but some of the reason that you will choose one over the other has to do with the number of items that you are trying to send with each shipment.
Picking FCL or LCL Can Impact Your Bottom Line
Always make sure that you look at the bottom line when you are making your decision between LCL and FCL. There are benefits to both, but if you are losing money on one option versus the other, you will need to be sure that you figure out how to make a change that offers you better cash flow and better customer service.