Shipping goods by sea is one of the most cost-effective ways to move large quantities of products across the world. When it comes to sea freight, there are two options to consider - Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL). LCL is an option for shipping smaller quantities of goods, while FCL is the preferred option for businesses that have large volumes of cargo to transport. But how do you know when it makes sense to ship as an FCL? In this article, we'll explore the key factors to consider when deciding whether to ship as an FCL and how to calculate the cubic meters (CBM) for your cargo.
What is an FCL shipment?
An FCL shipment is when the entire container is filled with one shipment belonging to one consignee. In other words, the consignee is responsible for filling the container and paying for the entire container's shipping cost, regardless of how much cargo is inside. FCL shipping is usually more cost-effective than LCL, especially for larger shipments, because the fixed costs of shipping a container are spread over a larger volume of cargo.
When does it make sense to ship as an FCL?
The decision to ship as an FCL depends on a few factors:
1. Volume of goods
One of the primary considerations when deciding whether to ship as an FCL is the volume of goods you need to transport. As a general rule of thumb, if your cargo takes up more than half of the container's volume, then FCL shipping may be more cost-effective.
2. Shipping cost
Another factor to consider is the shipping cost. FCL shipping is typically less expensive than LCL shipping because the fixed costs are spread over a larger volume of goods. If the cost of shipping a full container is less than the cost of shipping the same volume of cargo as LCL, then it makes sense to ship as an FCL.
3. Transit time
Transit time is the time it takes for your cargo to reach its destination. In some cases, FCL shipping can be faster than LCL because there are fewer stops and fewer chances for delays. If transit time is a priority, then it may make sense to ship as an FCL.
Calculating CBM for your cargo
To determine whether your cargo is suitable for FCL shipping, you will need to calculate the volume of your cargo in cubic meters (CBM). To do this, you will need to know the length, width, and height of each piece of cargo in centimeters. Then, use the following formula:
CBM = (Length x Width x Height) / 1,000,000
For example, if you have a pallet of goods that measures 120cm x 80cm x 100cm, the CBM would be:
CBM = (120 x 80 x 100) / 1,000,000 CBM = 0.96
You would repeat this calculation for each piece of cargo and add the CBM of each piece together to get the total CBM for your shipment.
In summary, there is no specific threshold for when it makes sense to ship as an FCL. The decision to ship as an FCL depends on the volume of goods, shipping cost, and transit time. If your cargo takes up more than half of the container's volume, and the cost of shipping a full container is less than the cost of shipping the same volume of cargo as LCL, then it makes sense to ship as an FCL. Calculating the CBM for your cargo is an essential step in determining whether FCL shipping is the right choice for your business. By considering these factors carefully, you can make an informed decision that saves you time and money in the long run.
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