FCL and LCL Shipping: Which One Is Best for You?

When people say FCL or LCL they are referring to two different types of modes of container shipments. And when dealing with shipping many people that don’t have any experience don’t know the difference between the two. That is why we and the logistics companies in Saudi Arabia decided to explain the differences between the two. When choosing between FCL and LCL shipping: which one is best for you?

What do FCL and LCL stand for?

Before we go into a lot of detail you should know the basics. And that is their names. Every logistics company in Dammam presents these two shipping modes as something you should choose. And of course, it is only natural that both FCL and LCL shipping have their advantages as well as disadvantages.

  • FCL – Full Container Load
  • LCL – Less Container Load
Woman looking for information about FCL and LCL shipping online.
There are many differences between FCL and LCL shipping, so chose the option that fits you best.

When it comes to FCL, the name already tells you everything. It means filling up your container so that the shipment occupies all of the available space. This means there will be no space to share with any other merchandise.

On the other hand, LCL means that your shipment occupies only a portion of the available space. That means there is room for other products to be shipped in the same container.

Shipment volume

Shipment volume is the capacity that the goods we are transporting can take up. Usually, this is calculated in cubic feet or cubic meters. And in most cases, this is the factor that decides which FCL and LCL shipping option you can go for. Shipments that are 2m3 and 13m3 are considered low-value shipments. The best option for them is LCL. On the other hand, anything that takes up more than 10 common pallets or more than 14m is considered cheaper when using FCL. Logistics companies in Riyadh will also explain this if you ask about the differences.

Man jumping on top of a cargo container.
Containers are by no means small. So don’t try to get FCL if you don’t have enough items to fill it up.

Cargo security

When shipping anything via a cargo transport company, people always give a lot of attention to security. It is only natural that this is everyone’s priority. When talking about the security between FCL and LCL shipping, there are a few differences. It is only natural that FCL has better security, as you will have exclusive rights to the container. On the other side when using LCL there is a possibility of damage or contamination from the other products in the container. But for specific kinds of shipments LCL sharing space is not a problem, and can be extremely safe.

Shipment cost

Shipping costs are one of the main things that affect people’s decisions. Different shipping and logistics companies have different prices. What we suggest is that you should always go for LCL for low-volume shipments and FCL for bigger ones (even if it doesn’t fill the container fully). The FCL rates can greatly vary compared to LCL rates but are mostly fixed.


When choosing between FCL and LCL shipping the urgency of the shipment plays a big role as well. FCL is usually a better option if you have a time schedule. On the other hand, LCL is better suited for shipments that are under a flexible time frame.

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