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FCL and LCL are shipping terms used in the international logistics industry. FCL is an acronym of the phrase 'Full Container Load' while that of LCL is 'Less than Container Load'.
The expression 'Full Container Load' is used when the goods in the container belong to only one consignee or owner. Loading and all kinds of risks and costs are the responsibility of the shipper. The container may or may not be fully loaded in this type of shipment.
On the contrary 'Less than Container Load' is used when various shippers with smaller volumes of cargo share the same container to send their goods to their desired destinations. Here a forwarding agent or consolidator is responsible for the arrangements and delivery of each shipment at its respective destination.
Apart from the facility LCL provides, the drawbacks that accompany it cannot be disregarded. Cargo from different shippers stuffed in a single container may affect each other’s flavor profile, depending on the vulnerability of the affected item by other items stuffed nearby. In addition, cargo takes longer to reach in case of LCL shipment because of several stop-overs, transits, connections and unshipping, and restoring onto the connecting vessels. Consequently the time it takes to birth vessels at several destinations causes delays.
Logistics Glossary: LCL
Logistics Glossary: FCL
Veconinter: What’s the difference between FCL and LCL shipping?
How to Export Import.com: Difference between FCL and LCL
Wikipedia: Container Loading<