FCL: Sea freight, rail freight, and truck freight

transport of a full container load


What does FCL mean and when do you use it


FCL stands for “Full Container Load” and means that the container is filled with goods by one person or company. There are different types of transporting FCL sea freight, rail freight, and truck freight. Still, shipping via ship is the most common one.

Although the name might suggest otherwise, you do not have to fill the 20ft.container or 40ft. container completely. It just means that you do not share the container with another person’s cargo, as it would be with LCL (Less than Container Load) transport. This leads to an easier and faster way of transport. Practically everything can be shipped - your car or household goods, or other wares of any kind.


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FCL container

FCL freight can be shipped in different container types. The usual choices are 20ft. or 40ft. ISO containers, as they are mostly sufficient. If your cargo is e.g. too big or needs a special transport, there are other containers that can be used. At Freightfinders.com you will find e.g. high cube container, flat racks, reefers, or open top containers for your transport. This enables the shipping of any goods.


FCL container transport

FCL containers can be transported on various means of transport. Here, you will find favourable sea freight, rail freight and truck transports for world wide destinations. Compare our means of transport for your route and let professionals with long-term experience take care of your FCL container transport.


How does FCL sea freight, rail freight or truck transport work?


Packing your FCL cargo

First, you should decide, what kind of container you want to use. They are usually standardised. There are e.g. 20 ft. (20 feet container) and 40 ft (40 feet container) . During loading, the consigner should be sure to pack the goods secure and thoroughly. Due to transportation, damages can occur, for which the freight forwarder is mostly not liable.


Import and export customs clearance of FCL transports

As soon as your FCL sea freight, rail freight or truck freight is being exported to a country outside of the European Community (EC) or imported into the EC, the cargo has to be cleared at the local Customs Administration. The forwarder will only take cargo that is safely packed and sealed by customs. The Export Accompanying Document (EAD) should also be procured ahead of bringing the rail truck or sea container to the harbour. You will only need the Proforma Invoice and the packing list for this.

Freightfinders.com offers you the opportunity to engage of our exclusive customs broker, who will handle these affairs easily and beforehand.


Process of FCL container shipping via train or truck

As FCL containers are only filled with one client’s cargo and no further goods have to be loaded, the container does not have to be brought to a loading company before the actual transport. This means that the container will be brought directly to the container terminal. Usually, the container is transported to the place of loading by a freight forwarding company. After the container has arrived at the place of unloading, the container will mostly be carried to the client again.


What is the FCL sea freight transport “port-to-port”

Port-to-Port is the kind of transport that especially companies with a long-term experience of container shipping can profit from. Collection and delivery from or to the harbour have to be organised by the company itself. This offers you maximum flexibility for your full container load, as you are not dependant on forwarders, as it would be the case with Door-to-Door transport. By using Port-to-Port transport, you do not only save time, but money as well. Still, you should pay attention to the shipping schedules to ensure your FCL sea freight is being in the right place at the right time.


Costs of a FCL container transport

FCL container costs are mostly made up of lump sums per container, in contrast to LCL container costs, which are made up of weight and volume of the cargo. What matters as well, is the container’s size. This is why FCL containers are sometimes cheaper than LCL containers, even though the container is not completely filled. Moreover, by using a FCL container, there are no additional costs for handling the general cargo. Other components, which are vital for the prices, are individual conditions, as for instance the kind of transport (i.e. Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door, etc.), distance of transport and number of containers being shipped.


Customs clearance for FCL containers

Depending on where the rail, truck, or sea freight container is supposed to be shipped, you will find various obstacles in the form of customs clearance and commercial laws. Freightfinders has exclusive customs brokers, who will take care of the declaration of your FCL container and who will collect and compile all the required documents of your full container load for customs.


Optional: Insurance of FCL containers

Ideally, the freight forwarder assumes liability for all occurring damage. As this ideal scenario rarely happens, the customer has to assume liability. This does not only apply to your rail, truck, or sea freight, but it may as well concern the container or even the ship, train, or truck itself. This leads to a very high risk for everyone involved. That is why it is advisable, to cover insurance for this eventuality. The costs for insurance are mostly relatively low and can be covered right here from our website.

Look for our providers with the Freightfinders sign. These are forwarders who are part of our premium network – covering everything including a best price insurance.