Shipping Terms Glossary

Shipping Terms Glossary
Free Carrier (FCA)

Free Carrier (FCA)

FCA is preferred when the buyer wants to have control of costs during export and international transportation through a nominated freight forwarder.

What is FCA?

FCA is one of the 11 International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) used in trade where the seller is responsible for export clearance and delivers the goods to a named place.


The term carrier refers to the company nominated by the buyer to act as a transport agent. More commonly, this is the freight forwarder .

What is FCA incoterm?


The ‘named place’ can be one of 2 different options in FCA:

1. The seller’s premises (factory or warehouse). In this case, the seller will load the goods onto the transport vehicle that will carry them to the ship or airplane.

2. The carrier’s warehouse or terminal. In this case, the seller will not unload the goods.

🚨 Point of Risk Transfer

It depends on the 'named place'

1. The seller's premises. The risk transfers to the buyer when the goods are loaded onto the truck.

2. The carrier’s warehouse or terminal. The risk transfers to the buyer when the goods are delivered (but not unloaded).

When should you choose FCA?


FCA terms are most commonly used when shipping containerized goods, i.e. goods packed into shipping containers.


FCA is preferable when the buyer wants to have control of costs during export and international transportation through a nominated freight forwarder.

A quick example:

Simple Scenario Time:

Business Owner (Buyer): Alex sourcing children’s toys from China to Netherlands

Supplier (Seller): A toy manufacturer in China

Agreed Term: FCA Seller’s warehouse: 478 Haishang Road, Fengxian District, Shanghai, China.

Seller’s duties: Responsible for export clearance and loading the goods on the carrier’s truck.

Buyer’s duties: Transportation from the seller’s premise to the carrier’s warehouse, for the main carriage transportation, unloading at the port of import, import clearance and the delivery to the Netherlands warehouse.

Point of Risk Transfer: When the seller loads the goods onto the carrier’s truck at the seller’s warehouse.

Cost allocation. Who pays for what under FCA?

Cost allocation - who should pay what under FCA?

Daisy Jiang

Proud Co-Founder and CEO of Bookairfreight. Shortly after starting to work in the world of logistics, I was astonished at how difficult and time consuming it was for businesses to get their hands on a simple air freight quote. I saw this as an opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives, and felt like I had to do something. It was the spark that lit the fire of Bookairfreight’s creation.

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