What Is the Difference Between Full Container Load and Less Container Load?


When shipping goods, manufacturers may or may not need an entire container for their goods. Thankfully, there are options offered by freight forwarding companies like FCL and LCL

Full Container Loads (FCL)


FCLs are a great way to ensure security. Because a single container is booked by one shipper, it is used for the transportation of their cargo only — no other shippers’ cargo will be sharing container space.

Security is thus enhanced, and ocean freight logistics management is simplified. 

Customer Service

Because there are multiple companies shipping hundreds of FCLs daily, it might feel as though your shipment is not a priority.

Despite their popularity, it’s important to ensure the freight forwarding company you are working with treats your FCL shipments with just as much care.


Full container load shipments require the shipper to pay the costs of the entire container being used for a shipment. Regardless of whether a shipper has enough goods to fill the entire container, they will still pay the full price.

Because some freight forwarding companies prefer a full container load for shipments, FCL may be a cheaper option. While LCL may have a lower charge at first glance, there may be higher terminal handling charges.

Less Container Loads (LCL)

Time Sensitivity of Shipments

LCLs are a useful option not only for shipments that do not require a full container but also for less time-sensitive shipments. 

Customer Service

Similar to FCL priorities, LCL shipments may not be as big of a priority to larger logistics providers. However, companies like Dedola are dedicated to providing custom logistics solutions for businesses with a variety of needs.

Whether a company is making a single LCL shipment or a larger shipment, Dedola prioritizes all of its clients. Regardless of shipment size, a quality freight forwarding company will provide you with access to all major trade lanes, sailing schedules, and transit time options.


While full container loads require the shipper to pay full price, less container loads only require payment for the space used. This means that if a manufacturer is not shipping enough goods to fill an entire container, they share that space with other shipments. 

LCL is typically a better option financially for companies with smaller shipments

The Future of Freight Forwarding

LCL has grown to be considered the future of freight forwarding. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of lower volume shipments. Emerging markets also prefer smaller loads, leading to a growing demand for LCL options.

Year Round Availability

For companies whose products will need to be available year-round, a combination of full container load shipments and less container load shipments is the best strategy to ensure goods can be delivered to multiple destinations.

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