FCL shipping is a type of ocean freight and the term FCL refers to full container load. Shipping FCL does not mean you need to have enough cargo to fill an entire container. You may ship a partially filled container as FCL. The benefit is that your cargo will not share a container with other shipments, like it would happen if you picked as a less than a container load (LCL). It is common for exporters and importers to ship their cargo in a half full or partially full containers, due to time constraints, deadlines or to protect their cargo from contamination of other cargos. Often a partially full container is less expensive to ship because there will be none of the consolidating and handling fees associated with loose cargo, as in an LCL shipment. The rule of thumb is, if you are shipping 6 standard pallets in a 20ft container, 12 standard pallets or more in a 40ft container, it might be cost effective to ship your cargo as an FCL shipment, full container load, rather than LCL shipment, less than a container load. 

Most FCL shipments are door-to-port, but it is possible to ship FCL port-to-port, port-to-door, or door-to-door. In the export and import business, the shipper is usually responsible for the door-to-port and the consignee is responsible from the port of destination to his warehouse. However, Incoterms will determine how obligations and financial responsibilities are divided between the exporter and importer. 

FCL shipping rate calculator

iContainers is a FMC licensed freight forwarder and shipping rate aggregator. It provides instant FCL shipping quotes, with or without pick-up (CFR) or insurance (CIF). Each shipping quote lets you compare rates for different size containers (20 foot, 40 foot and 40 foot high cube) and prices for departures from different near-by ports.

Packing & loading your container

The shipper’s ability to pack and load a container in an efficiently manner can reduce his shipping cost significantly. There are specialized packing companies that can handle palletizing or construction of wood boxes. iContainers can arrange to pick up at the packaging company. 

If you decide to pack your own container, this is referred to as “live load”. The container will arrive at your residence or warehouse on a truck and you will be given two hours to load your cargo. If you need more than two hours, please make your request in advance. The additional time will be assessed by the hour. 

A standard container, both 20ft & 40ft, have a door opening of 2.34m width (7’8”) x 2.28m (7’6”) height x 5.898m (19’4”) length. 

A 20ft container will fit 10 standard pallets or 12 Euro pallets on the floor of the container, 20 standard and 24 Euro, for a 40ft container. This is assuming that the pallets cannot be stacked.

Container Types

There are many types of containers: standard dry containers, flat rack containers, collapsible flat rack containers, refrigerated containers, and tank containers. Each type has a specific application and is available in several sizes. The most common containers are:

  • 20ft standard dry
  • 40ft high cube dry
  • 45ft high cube dry
  • 20ft open top
  • 40ft open top
  • 20ft refrigerated
  • 40ft refrigerated
  • 20ft flat rack
  • 40ft flat rack

Contact our shipping experts to make arrangements for non standard containers.