If you’re planning on shipping a large amount of cargo, you’re probably better off getting familiar with the options you have first. For example, you might want to stick with an FCL container. The “FCL” is short for “full container load”. These containers are usually seen being transported by sea, by ships, mostly because of the large amount of cargo plus its heavy weight. These mentioned containers are usually 20 or 40 feet long, so you can imagine just what kind of cargo people ship using them. A full container load generally means that the container itself is being used to its maximum capacity.

As opposed to a full container load, there’s something called a “less than container load” or an LCL. A less than container load is basically when the cargo in a freight container is not enough to fully occupy the total space it offers. So another question pops up: Will you need a full container load or a less than container load? – That all depends on what you are shipping and how much of it there is.

Container shipping

Both FCL’s and LCL’s have their perks and their weaknesses. You can either assess your needs first then decide between the two. Or compare and contrast them and then use your needs as a basis for which one to choose. Whichever way you go, you’re going to compare them anyway. Below will be one advantage for FCL’s and one advantage for LCL’s. One disadvantage for both will follow afterwards.

Weighing the pros and cons; which type of container is the best for you and your goods?


  • FCL: In most cases, is the cheaper alternative, plus cargo is more likely to be shipped without delay to its final location.
  • LCL: When you share a container with other consignees, you only pay for the space of the container your cargo occupies, not the whole thing.


  • FCL: You still have to pay the same price for a container even if it’s not completely full.
  • LCL: Shipping time may be longer because goods from multiple importers or exporters have to be organized into different containers according to the specifications of those goods.

This is just to give you a start. Keep in mind that these are only a couple examples of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of container.

You should keep looking up the differences between the two in order to have a clearer perception of which suits your cargo best.

Certainly be sure to ask your freight forwarder for some advice on this matter too.

Getting large shipments delivered is a much different process from your everyday package or mail delivery, especially if it’s international. Whether you choose FCL or LCL, proper preparation is crucial; paperwork, packaging, fees, deadlines, etc. This is to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly.

Hopefully this short article not only helped you learn more about freight containers, but even in the case that you might use them one day. If you want to learn more, there’s nothing wrong with searching online or consulting a professional. Just make sure that when you opt for a FCL container or a LCL container, stick with a good company.

Contact us for more information on containers.