Shipping Terms Glossary


If you have more than 15 CBM goods, it might be cheaper to ship FCL than LCL.

What is FCL?

FCL (Full Container Load) is a type of ocean shipment in which the cargo takes up the full or near full capacity of a container (of any size).

In an FCL shipment, the container can be loaded on the seller’s premises and then driven directly to the container yard or terminal.

What is LCL?

LCL (Less than Container Load) is a type of ocean freight designed for shipping boxes or palletized cargo which do not fill the entire capacity of a container.  

In an LCL shipment, you share the container space and cost with other shippers.


differences between fcl and lcl

What are the different types of containers available?

• 20 GP — General Purpose, 20ft in length

• 20 HQ — High Cube, 20ft in length, and 1 ft taller in height than 20GP

• 40 GP — General Purpose, 40ft in length

• 40 HQ — High Cube, 40ft in length, 1 ft taller in height than 40GP

  20 GP
(General Purpose)
20 HQ
(High Cube)
40 GP
(General Purpose)
40 HQ
(High Cube)
Inner Length 19 ft 4
19 ft 4
39 ft 6
39 ft 6
Inner Width 7 ft 8
7 ft 8
7 ft 8
7 ft 8
Inner Height 7 ft 10
8 ft 10
7 ft 10 inches 8 ft 10 inches
Capacity (in Cubic Meters) 33 CBM 37.3 CBM 67 CBM 76 CBM
Maximum Payload (Kg)* 21,720 kg 28,160 kg 26,650 kg 26,530 kg

*Maximum Payload is the maximum weight a container can hold. This limit should not be exceeded.

What are the benefits of FCL vs LCL?

Faster Slower

(consumes time for consolidation and deconsolidation)
Cheaper for smaller shipments Works out to be cheaper if you have
large quantities of goods
Reduced risk of damage to goods

(the container only has your goods)
Higher Risk of damage to goods

(your goods are combined with others)

How should you choose between an FCL or LCL shipment?

Cubic Meters (CBM) Should you choose LCL vs FCL?
1 - 13 CBM LCL
Get quotations for LCL and FCL -
compare and choose
13.1 - 15 CBM
15.1 CBM and greater FCL

Not sure how many CBM your shipment is? Find out on

Cristian Ungureanu

Logistics nerd and resident marketing guy of Bookairfreight. I love writing content that simplifies old-fashioned industry processes and provides solid, accurate information you can base your decisions on. Outside of logistics, I enjoy nature, hanging out with friends, electronic music and spirituality.

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