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LCL – LESS THAN CONTAINER LOAD

 

LCL is an abbreviation for "Less than Container Load". This shipping term is commonly used to describe an international ocean freight service that designed for shipping boxed, crated or palletized cargo from or to the USA that cannot fill an entire 20 or 40 foot sea freight container.

There are many advantages for international shipping using LCL ocean freight service, i.e using shipping services from international transportation companies (Freight Forwarders, NVOCCs, VOCCs) Vs. using FCL (Full Container Load ocean freight service) or shipping service offered by international moving companies.

IT SHARPLY DECREASES SHIPPING COST ON SMALLER OCEAN FREIGHT SHIPMENTS AND:

  • When you share a 40 foot sea freight container with one or more exporters that import or export goods to or from the USA, you pay only for the space used in a container, but not for a whole sea freight container. 
     
  • As a rule the transit time will be the same as if you would ship a full ocean freight container and most likely it will be faster if you use a service from an international moving company. 
     
  • Typically LCL ocean freight rates are calculated is BY VOLUME (per cubic meter/cubic foot) but NOT BY WEIGHT. Since cargo vessels capacity is not really limited by weight of cargo but by the hold of the ship, in general WEIGHT OF LCL FREIGHT IS NOT A PRICING FACTOR (you may find more about dimensional weight in respect of sea freight and inland (LTL) trucking in our website).
     
  • You may save on inland trucking. If you self-deliver your boxed, crated or palletized goods, that easily fits into your own or rented truck, to an ocean freight carrier's shipping terminal, then you will eliminate pre-carriage expenses that with FCL or international moving company's service may be comparable to or even exceed the international ocean freight shipping cost itself.

    Notice: In the International Cargo Transportation by Sea Industry the term Ocean Freight means the price paid by shipper for the transfer (sailing) his/her cargo between ocean freight carrier's terminals in countries of origin and destinations. Shipping Costs of international ocean freight may not include origin and/or destination charges. See samples of total shipping costs calculations on Import or Export to or from the USA by sea below.

IT IS FLEXIBLE:

  • If you self-deliver your boxed cargo to an international shipping company's ocean freight shipping terminal, then you may request to palletize your loose boxes in one or more shipping units directly at the ocean freight shipping terminal. By palletizing your boxes you make it safe for shipping from or to the USA in a sea freight container. You may palletize smaller boxes and request to ship bigger items loose. Then your eliminate shipping cost and extra-volume charges related to palletizing (you may find more about palletizing of cargo for the international ocean freight shipping in our website in this link).

    Notice: International moving companies may box, crate and palletize your goods for the international shipment by sea as well. However they will charge you for the labor and materials used for your Import or Export with their profit on top of that.
      
  • You can ship cargo of any sizes and forms as long as it fits into a 40' sea freight container with internal dimensions as follows:
    Length - 39'5" = 12 meters
    Width - 7'5" = 2.35 meters
    Height - 7'10" = 2.39 meters
     

HELPFUL HINTS. READING LCL OCEAN FREIGH RATE

Ocean freight shipping rates may be ALL-IN (all-inclusive) or to be subject to surcharges related to a particular origin-destination. Surcharges can be a percentage of the rate offered on top of the international ocean freight rate and/or lump sums added to the ocean freight rate.

Important!: Do not confuse total shipping cost on your Import or Export shipment with a sea freight rate obtained from an international transportation company in a sea freight quote provided. Refer to samples of calculations of total shipping cost on Export and Import cargo to and from the USA below.

  • Typically international LCL sea freight rates offered by international shipping companies on EXPORT cargo from the USA include origin charges, but do not include destination charges.
  • International ocean freight rates offered by international shipping companies  on IMPORT to the USA may not include charges at origin as well.

Notice: These rules may not apply if you use service from an international moving company.

OCEAN FREIGHT CHARGES. SAMPLE OF LCL SHIPPING COST RATE CALCULATION ON EXPORT FROM THE USA:

ORIGIN: CFS Los Angeles, CA, USA (CFS - Container Freight Station, i.e. an international shipping company's shipping or receiving bonded warehouse)

DESTINATION: CFS Rome, Italy

ETT: 33 DAYS (ETT - Estimated Transit Time. The expected arrival time once the cargo has been shipped by sea. Notice: Even though typically shipments depart and arrive as scheduled, for ocean freight Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) cannot guarantee a specific transit time.

OCEAN FREIGHT RATE PER CUBIC METER: USD130 w/m; MINIMUM 1 CUB.M or USD130

BAF 17% (BAF - Bunker Adjustment Factor, i.e. fuel surcharge, a sample of "percentage" surcharge, which must be added to the sea freight rate)

CAF 3% (CAF – Currency Adjustment Factor)

BOL FEE - INTERNATIONAL SEA FREIGHT BILL OF LADING FEE USD15 per shipment - a sample of "lump sum" surcharge, which may be added to the international ocean freight rate.

As a rule, origin charges at CFS are included in the ocean freight rate.

!!!*** As a rule, destination charges are not included in international ocean freight rates ***!!!

Then your ALL-IN CFS-CFS international ocean freight rate will be $156 per cubic meters + $15 l/sum to the total ocean freight rate.

Let's assume that you export from the USA 3.25 cubic meters of your boxed or crated cargo. You self-deliver it to CFS (an international shipping company's shippping warehouse) that locates in Los Angeles, CA.

Then your total ocean freight shipping cost excluding destination charges will be:

$(130 + 130 X 0.17 + 130 X 0.03) X 3.25  + 15 = $522

IMPORTANT: International ocean freight rates always have minimums. Always compare a total international ocean freight rate to the minimum in the initial ocean freight freight rate. You will pay for the total ocean freight OR the minimum, whichever is greater.

Be prepared to pay destination charges at the destination upon arrival of your sea freight to the destination.

SAMPLE OF DESTINATION CHARGES. IMPORT FREIGHT TO THE USA BY SEA:

Here is the list of destination charges that most commonly apply on international ocean freight: 

1. ENTRY FILING AND U.S. CUSTOMS. U.S. GOVERNMENT RELATED CHARGES - These charges include, but are not limited to: (1) U.S. Customs Duties and taxes assigned by the U.S. Government; (2) U.S. Customs brokers' fees for filing entry and entry summary in the United States; (3) Other U.S. Government-related charges, which in general consist of a Customs Bond, Merchandise fee, and Harbor Maintenance Fee. These charges are payable by the consignee (recipient) directly to U.S. Customs or to an U.S. Customs Broker.

Example of destination charges per entry, related to U.S. Customs clearance that should be added to total shipping cost and paid at a time of recovery of international ocean freight arrived in the U.S. Commerce Zone:

  • Entry filing for international ocean freight Commercial Shipments - $125. 
  • Entry filing for intrnational ocean freight Personal Shipments depends on the complexity of shipping documents submitted to a shipment and may vary from $195 to $350 or more. However, as long as it is an informal entry, it will not require Customs Bond. 
  • Single entry Customs Bond (for formal entries. Apply to international ocean freight Commercial Shipments) - $75 or $7.00 per $1,000 of value + duty. Applies if the importer does not have a Continuous Bond on file with US Customs. (+250% when entry is processed thru another government agency, FDA, USDA, EPA, etc). 
  • U.S. Customs Duty depending on commodity if not exempt from paying duty.
  • Filing additional tariffs (Harmonized codes) - $7 per HTS tariff after two. 
  • Merchandise processing fee – 0.21% of value. Minimum $25; Maximum $485. Applies to all imports except temporary imports. 
  • Harbor Maintenance Fee – 0.125% of value. Applies to all international ocean freight imports. 
  • Disbursement Fee - 25 min / 6% on amount paid on behalf of importer of records (consignee)

2. THC - TERMINAL HANDLING CHARGES ON INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FREIGHT SHIPPED TO THE USA:

These charges vary depending on commodity, weight and volume. These charges are payable to the destination station (CFS - Container Freight Station, international ocean freight carrier's receiving terminal).

Example of U.S. destination shipping terminal(s) charges for international LCL ocean freight of total volume around 3 CBM / weight 300 kilos:

  • Staffing fee - $18
  • CFS docs fee - $25 
  • Handling charge - $75 
  • Pier pass - $5 
  • Storage (if any) 
  • Port of entry CFS release - $75

3. CHARGES RELATED TO FREIGHT RELEASE:

  • International ocean freight carrier's destination agent release fee - $55-95. If the destination agent is a CFS itself, then this charge can be included in a Port of entry CFS release.
  • Messenger fee - $25-55. Covers express mail for payments and shipping documents transfers in order to get an entry and entry summary within a time slot allowed by U.S. Customs – no longer than in 15 working days. 
  • Place of Delivery warehouse release fee (if Immediate Transportation. I.e. port of entry is NOT a final destination. As a rule applies on cargo transfers to landlocked cities) - $55-105.

4. FREIGHT DELIVERY (IF A DELIVERY IS REQUIRED)

SAMPLE OF TOTAL SHIPPING COST RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL LCL SEA FREIGHT SHIPMENTS IN USD (Import to the USA):

Very important to understand that typically ocean freight shipping price quots received from an international shipping company contains just a part of total shipping cost of your ocean freight shipment. Consider this example below for an import freight to the USA. This rule may not apply if you are using shipping service from an international moving company.

Notice: for shipping export from the USA, origin charges as a rule, are INCLUDED in the ocean freight quote offered by a freight forwarder.

COMMODITY

COMPUTER PARTS  
ORIGIN CFS OSLO, NORWAY  
DESTINATION CFS DENVER, CO, USA  
TRANSFER VIA HAMBURG, GERMANY /  NEW YORK, NY, USA  
TOTAL VOLUME 3.55 CBM  
TOTAL WEIGHT 500 KILOS  
ETT 21 DAYS  
ALL-IN O/FREIGHT RATE PER CBM WM / MINIMUM USD125 / 125  
     

PRICING

   
I. ORIGIN CHARGES:    
a. Pickup and delivery at named place CARGO SELF-DELIVERED TO ORIGIN CFS  
b. Origin Customs formalities $25  
c. Origin THC and documentation fee $115  
     
II. OCEAN FREIGHT $444  
     
III. DESTINATION CHARGES:    
a. Entry filing, bond and U.S. customs $235 + Customs Duty if any  
b. Destination THC and documentation fee at port of entry (New York) $195  
c. Final destination warehouse release $85  
d. Delivery CARGO SELF-PICKED UP AT DESTINATION CFS  
     
TOTAL: $1099  

 

Some statistics on the LCL ocean freight:

During the last 2009 year we had completed 1489 international LCL ocean freight shipments.

This chart provides the total international ocean freight volume divided by countries in percents from the total (100%):

Shipping to India 14.17%
Shipping to Australia 12.29%
Shipping to United Kingdom 6.18%
Shipping to China 4.97 %
Shipping to New Zealand 2.82%
Shipping to Saudi Arabia 2.82%
Shipping to Germany 2.69%
Shipping to Malaysia 2.35%
Shipping to Taiwan 2.01%
Shipping to Ireland 1.95%
Shipping to Singapore 1.88%
Shipping to USA 1.68%
Shipping to Brazil 1.61%
Shipping to South Africa 1.54%
Shipping to Italy 1.54%
Shipping to France 1.48%
Shipping to Spain 1.28%
Shipping to Sweden 1.14%
Shipping to Japan 1.07%
Shipping to Thailand 1.01%
Shipping to Costa Rica 1.01%
Shipping to Turkey 1.01%
Shipping to Netherlands 0.94%
Shipping to Norway 0.87%
Shipping to Venezuela 0.87%
Shipping to Israel 0.81%
Shipping to Czech Republic 0.81%
Shipping to Tanzania 0.81%
Shipping to UAE 0.81%
Shipping to Switzerland 0.74%
Shipping to Pakistan 0.74%
Shipping to Finland 0.74%
Shipping to Philippines 0.74%
Shipping to Indonesia 0.74%
Shipping to Egypt 0.67%
Shipping to Belgium 0.60%
Shipping to Lebanon 0.60%
Shipping to Poland 0.60%
Shipping to Cyprus 0.60%
Shipping to Sri Lanka 0.60%
Shipping to Kenya 0.54%
Shipping to Morocco 0.54%
Shipping to Peru 0.54%
Shipping to Denmark 0.54%
Shipping to Chile 0.47%
Shipping to Panama 0.47%
Shipping to Albania 0.47%
Shipping to Hawaii (USA) 0.47%
Shipping to Kuwait 0.47%
Shipping to Romania 0.40%
Shipping to Portugal 0.40%
Shipping to Hungary 0.40%
Shipping to Vietnam 0.40%
Shipping to Scotland 0.34%
Shipping to Mozambique 0.34%
Shipping to Russia 0.34%
Shipping to Jordan 0.34%
Shipping to Ecuador 0.34%
Shipping to Ghana 0.34%
Shipping to Croatia 0.34%
Shipping to Colombia 0.34%
Shipping to Bulgaria 0.34%
Shipping to Greece 0.34%
Shipping to Estonia 0.34%
Shipping to Jamaica 0.34%
Shipping to South Korea 0.27%
Shipping to Argentina 0.27%
Shipping to Mauritius 0.27%
Shipping to Korea 0.27%
Shipping to Algeria 0.27%
Shipping to Zambia 0.27%
Shipping to Grenada0.20
Shipping to Barbados W.I. 0.20%
Shipping to Madagascar 0.20%
Shipping to Ukraine 0.20%
Shipping to St. Maarten 0.20%
Shipping to Austria 0.20%
Shipping to Uganda 0.20%
Shipping to Zimbabwe 0.20%
Shipping to Trinidad 0.20%
Shipping to Latvia 0.20%
Shipping to Slovenia 0.20%
Shipping to Tunisia 0.13%
Shipping to Martinique 0.13%
Shipping to Tortola B.V.I. 0.13%
Shipping to Congo 0.13%
Shipping to Paraguay 0.13%
Shipping to Nigeria 0.13%
Shipping to Yugoslavia 0.13%
Shipping to Slovakia 0.13%
Shipping to Bahrain 0.13%
Shipping to El Salvador 0.13%
Shipping to Cambodia 0.13%
Shipping to Cameroon 0.13%
Shipping to Uruguay 0.07%
Shipping to Botswana 0.07%
Shipping to Yemen 0.07%
Shipping to Guinea 0.07%
Shipping to Malta 0.07%
Shipping to New Caledonia 0.07%
Shipping to Dominica 0.07%
Shipping to Curacao N.A.0.07%
Shipping to Fiji 0.07%
Shipping to Guatemala 0.07%
Shipping to Guyana 0.07%
Shipping to Canary Islands 0.07%
Shipping to Bosnia 0.07%
Shipping to Bahamas 0.07%
Shipping to American Samoa 0.07%
Shipping to Bangladesh 0.07%
Shipping to Belarus 0.07%
Shipping to Bolivia 0.07%
Shipping to Haiti 0.07%
Shipping to Lithuania 0.07%
Shipping to St. Kitts 0.07%
Shipping to Sierra Leone 0.07%
Shipping to St. Lucia 0.07%
Shipping to St. Thomas U.S.V.I. 0.07%
Shipping to Syria 0.07%
Shipping to Serbia 0.07%
Shipping to Qatar 0.07%
Shipping to Nevis 0.07%
Shipping to Mexico 0.07%
Shipping to Nicaragua 0.07%
Shipping to Oman 0.07%
Shipping to Puerto Rico 0.07%
Shipping to Tahiti 0.07% 

AVOIDING COMMON MISTAKES WHEN APPLY FOR INTERNATIONAL LCL OCEAN FREIGHT SERVICE FROM AN INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING COMPANY:

A. Do not confuse a parcel service with international LCL sea freight service

International LCL shipments with international shipping companies are always subject to origin* and destination charges and have a minimum charge on the ocean freight. Usually that minimum is equal to shipping cost of at least of one cubic meter. I.e. if you ship 0.5 cubic meters you will be charged for shipping of one cubic meter anyway. (For certain origins-destinations the minimum can be much higher. Always pay attention to the minimum in international ocean freight.)

*Notice: for export international ocean freight from the USA, origin THC - Terminal Handling Charges, Customs formalities and shipping documents turnover fees, as a rule, are included in international ocean freight rates.   

If you ship small cargo less than 0.3 cubic meters of total volume, possible using a parcel service would be more cost-effective that service provided by an international ocean freight freight forwarder. 

B. Do not confuse LCL ocean freight service with an international moving company's service

Yes, most of the time you can use LCL ocean freight service from an international shipping company, i.e. service from an international freight forwarder for shipping household goods or personal belongings from and to the USA by sea.

However, in order to use LCL service all your shipping items must be properly boxed or crated and labeled for shipping purpose.

If you are moving overseas you may consider services from international moving companies. Services offered by international moving companies may be extremely expensive. However, an international moving company may send to you a surveyor, estimate packing cost and provide total pricing for your international shipment. International moving companies may provide to you all-in service for a shipping cost including all charges related to your international shipment. But always ask the international moving company either all charges included in their shipping cost offered or not. You may try http://www.123movers.com   

C. Shipper's responsibilities on commodity and shipping documents submitted to an international sea freight Import or Export shipment

In respect of dealing with an international freight forwarder, shipper should clearly understand that he/she is responsible for description and legality of commodity and sufficiency of shipping documentats submitted to the international ocean freight shipment.

International ocean freight carrier's bill of lading on sea freight is the final shipping document that acts as the title on shipped goods, as a rule states 'SHIPPER LOAD AND COUNT' and 'SAID BY SHIPPER TO CONTAIN'. That means that the ocean freight carrier (and a freight forwarder who represents this carrier) is not responsible for information provided by shipper on his commodity being imported to or exported to or from the USA. 

An international ocean freight freight forwarder should guide shipper in complexity of international shipment's procedures. However, it is shipper's responsibility to provide all necessary shipping documents related to his international sea freight shipment that required by origin and destination countries officials.

Below is the list of common used shipping documents required to be submitted to an international ocean freight shipment:

MANDATORY DOCUMENTS:

A. International ocean freight Bill of Lading – Ocean carriers' (international shipping company's) transport document. Title on shipped goods. Shows cargo routing, consigner, consignee, cargo description, etc.

B.1. For commercial international ocean freight shipments - Commercial Invoice. Complete description of commodity being shipped with the value in USD while using ocean freight service provided by an international ocean freight shipping company or an international moving company.

B.2. For shipping household goods and personal belongings overseas – Valued Packing List. An inventory list with value in USD assigned to each item being shipped by an international ocean freight shipping company or an international moving company.

Notice: some countriers require proforma commercial invoices for international personal shipments as well. However, having a complete Valued Packing List submitted at origin, upon destination customs request, you will be able easy to transfer your Valued Packing List into a proforma commercial invoice required by the customs.   

In respect of U.S. Customs, all Commercial Invoices (and Valued Packing Lists) must be in English and show:

  • Value of cargo in US Dollars (exchange rate = date of export);
  • Shippers full name and address (M.I.D. – manufacturer’s identification); 
  • Consignee full name and address; 
  • Detailed description of cargo/freight; 
  • Quantity of cargo shipped; 
  • Weight of cargo shipped;
  • Cargo’s Country of Origin

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS DEPENDING ON COMMODITY AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN USED IN THE OCEAN FREIGHT INDUSTRY:

D. Packing List – Breakdown description: pieces, weights and packing materials. (Examples - Wood Pallets, Skids, Crates, Boxes, Dunnage, Straw Packing, etc.)

E. Fumigation Certificate– Certification that cargo and packing materials were fumigated after cargo had been containerized and is free of infestation.

F. Special Shipping Documents – Dependent on commodity and country of origin.

Visa
Quota
Visa/Quota
Certificate of Origin
North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin (N.A.F.T.A.)
Packing Declaration
Dangerous Goods Declaration – hazardous materials
Fish and Wildlife Declaration
Consular Legalized documents
F.D.A.
U.S.D.A.
Anti-Dumping

D. Storage/demurrage at destinations on international ocean freight shipments.

In several days before your international ocean freight shipment will arrive to the destination port of entry, your consignee (recipient) should receive a notification (arrival notice). As a rule it will be an arrival notice faxed or e-mailed to the consignee by the agent of international ocean freight shipping company used on your sea freight shipment. Otherwise it can be a phone call or mail from the international shipping company's destination agent. Make sure that contact information of consignee initially provided in your booking request and transffered to your international ocean freight bill of lading is correct and valid.  

Act promptly. Your free storage time at a destination warehouse is limited. Depending on destination ocean freight carrier's station policy it varies between 7 to 14 days. Thereafter storage/demurrage may increase total shipping cost for your international ocean freight shipment dramatically.

Laws allow to your consignee working on the cargo recovery directly with your destination county's customs and other parties related to your international ocean freight shipment.

However, if the consignee is not familiar with import procedures on sea freight imprt or export, we recommend him immediately request the international shipping company's destination agent to complete the cargo release on your behalf or forward the notice of arrival along with other documents required by destination authorities to a freight forwarder or destination customs broker. They will charge a reasonable fee for its service. However, they should obtain customs and warehouse releases with no (or minimum) storage/demurrage charges on your international ocean freight shipment.

E. International FCL ocean freight rates

International FCL ocean freight rates can be obtained in this website - http://containers.internationalshippingusa.com/Home.aspx

 
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