FCA Incoterms : What FCA (Free Carrier) Means and Pricing0 (0)

FCA Incoterms : What FCA (Free Carrier) Means and Pricing
0 (0)

April 11, 2024

What Is FCA In Shipping Terms?

“Free Carrier (FCA Incoterms)” is a key shipping term in international trade. It defines the seller’s duty to deliver goods to a specified location, typically nominated by the buyer, at an agreed-upon spot.

With FCA terms, the seller handles and covers transportation costs to the designated place, whether it’s their own facility, a freight forwarder’s warehouse, a port, or elsewhere. Upon delivery to this location, the seller’s responsibility shifts to the buyer.

It’s crucial to understand that under FCA terms, the buyer assumes subsequent expenses and risks, such as export and import clearances, along with any additional transportation beyond the agreed delivery point.

How Free Carrier (FCA) Works

FCA Incoterms (FCA) is an Incoterm commonly used in international trade to outline the duties of both the seller and the buyer concerning goods delivery. Here’s a breakdown of how FCA operates:

  1. Agreement on Delivery Point: Both parties decide on a specific place, typically the seller’s premises, a terminal, or a warehouse, termed the “named place” or “place of delivery.”

Seller’s Responsibilities:

  • Delivering goods to the agreed named place.
  • Organizing and covering transportation costs to the named place.
  • Handling export clearance if needed.
  • Loading goods onto the buyer’s chosen mode of transport at the named place.

Transfer of Risk and Ownership: Risk shifts from the seller to the buyer at the named place of delivery. Once goods are loaded onto the buyer’s chosen transport mode, the buyer bears any subsequent loss or damage.

Buyer’s Responsibilities:

  • Managing and paying for import clearance and any transportation beyond the named place.
  • Assuming responsibility for goods and associated risks upon loading onto the chosen transport mode at the named place.
  • Covering additional costs post-delivery, like insurance, duties, and taxes.

Documentation and Communication: The seller furnishes necessary paperwork, such as commercial invoices and packing lists, to facilitate customs clearance and transportation.

In summary, FCA terms delineate roles for both parties in goods delivery up to a specified point, offering flexibility in transportation while ensuring risk and ownership transfer at the agreed named place of delivery.

What are the Buyers and Sellers Responsibilities with FCA Agreements?

In an FCA Incoterms (Free Carrier) agreement, both the buyer and the seller have specific roles:

Seller’s Duties:

  1. Delivering goods to the named place as per the contract.
  2. Organizing and covering export clearance if needed.
  3. Loading goods onto the agreed mode of transport at the specified location.
  4. Providing essential documentation like the commercial invoice and packing list to the buyer.

Buyer’s Duties:

  1. Informing the seller of the delivery location and any special requirements.
  2. Organizing and paying for import clearance.
  3. Assuming responsibility for the goods and any risks once delivered to the agreed place.
  4. Covering any transportation costs beyond the agreed delivery point.
  5. Handling insurance arrangements if necessary.

It’s crucial for both parties to clearly comprehend their roles under the FCA agreement for a smooth shipment process. Additionally, specifying details such as the delivery location and responsibilities in the contract can prevent misunderstandings or disputes.

Example of FCA Incoterms

Let’s consider an example to illustrate how Free Carrier (FCA) terms work:

Scenario: Company A, located in Germany, manufactures and sells machinery parts. Company B, located in the United States, wants to purchase a shipment of these parts from Company A.

Terms: The parties agree to use FCA Incoterm for the transaction.


  • Seller: Company A (located in Germany)
  • Buyer: Company B (located in the United States)
  • Goods: Machinery parts manufactured by Company A
  • Quantity: 100 units
  • Price: €10,000


  1. Negotiation and Agreement:
    • Company A and Company B negotiate the terms of the sale, including price, quantity, delivery point, and the chosen Incoterm (FCA).
  2. Agreement on Named Place of Delivery:
    • Company A agrees to deliver the goods to its warehouse in Hamburg, Germany. This warehouse serves as the named place of delivery.
  3. Seller’s Responsibilities (Company A):
    • Company A arranges and pays for the transportation of the machinery parts from its factory to the warehouse in Hamburg.
    • Company A is responsible for export clearance procedures in Germany.
    • Company A loads the machinery parts onto the truck at its warehouse in Hamburg.
  4. Transfer of Risk and Ownership:
    • The risk of loss or damage to the machinery parts transfers from Company A to Company B at the moment the goods are loaded onto the truck at the named place of delivery (Company A’s warehouse in Hamburg).
  5. Buyer’s Responsibilities (Company B):
    • Company B is responsible for arranging and paying for the transportation of the goods from Company A’s warehouse in Hamburg to the final destination in the United States.
    • Company B assumes responsibility for import clearance procedures in the United States.
    • Company B bears any risks associated with the goods during transit from Hamburg to the United States.
  6. Documentation:
    • Company A provides Company B with the necessary documentation, including the commercial invoice, packing list, and any other required documents, to facilitate customs clearance and transportation.

In this example, using FCA terms allows both Company A and Company B to clearly understand their responsibilities regarding the delivery of the machinery parts. Company A’s obligation ends once the goods are loaded onto the truck at the named place of delivery, while Company B assumes responsibility for transportation and import procedures from that point onwards.

Advantages and Disadvantages for the Buyer

Advantages for the Buyer:

  1. Transportation Control: The buyer gains control over transportation by selecting the carrier and managing logistics from the named delivery place onward.
  2. Cost Savings: With the seller responsible for delivery to the named place, the buyer may save on transportation expenses, benefiting from better shipping rates or streamlined logistics.
  3. Flexibility: Buyers can tailor transportation to their needs, potentially securing customized and cost-efficient shipping solutions.

Disadvantages for the Buyer:

  1. Risk of Damage or Loss: Once goods reach the named place, the buyer assumes liability for any damage or loss, incurring associated costs.
  2. Complex Import Procedures: Import clearance, the buyer’s responsibility, can be intricate and time-intensive, particularly with specific customs requirements.
  3. Additional Costs: Import clearance, transportation beyond the named place, and other expenses may increase the transaction’s overall cost.
  4. Dependency on Seller: Buyers depend on sellers to adequately prepare and deliver goods to the agreed location; failure to meet obligations can lead to delays or complications.

In summary, while FCA terms offer buyer advantages like transportation control and potential savings, they entail risks and duties that require careful management.

When to Use an FCA Agreement?

FCA (Free Carrier) agreements are commonly utilized in international trade when both the buyer and the seller aim to outline clear responsibilities for goods delivery. Here are scenarios where opting for an FCA agreement may be fitting:

Transportation Control:

When the buyer seeks greater control over transportation, including carrier selection and logistics coordination from a specific point, FCA terms enable them to assume these duties.

Convenient Seller Location:

If the seller’s location facilitates loading goods onto the chosen mode of transport, like a well-equipped warehouse or manufacturing facility, it can be advantageous for the buyer to arrange transportation from there, making FCA terms ideal.

Cost-Effective Transportation Solutions:

When the buyer can secure better shipping rates or access more efficient transportation options, FCA terms enable them to capitalize on these cost-saving opportunities.

Agreement on Responsibility Transfer Point:

If both parties agree on a specific point where the seller’s responsibility ends and the buyer’s begins, FCA terms offer a transparent framework for this transition.

Manageable Import Procedures:

If the buyer is comfortable handling import clearance procedures in the destination country and understands customs requirements, FCA terms allow them to shoulder this responsibility.

Specific Delivery Location:

When goods must be delivered to a precise location, such as the buyer’s warehouse or a designated port, FCA terms accommodate this need by allowing flexibility in determining the named place of delivery.

In essence, FCA agreements are appropriate when both parties concur on the responsibility transfer point, the buyer desires transportation control, and the seller’s location is conducive to loading goods. Moreover, the buyer should be prepared to manage import procedures and assume responsibility for the goods from the named delivery place onward.


What Is the Difference Between FCA and FOB?

Title: FCA vs. FOB: Key Differences in International Trade Explained

In international trade, FCA (Free Carrier) and FOB (Free On Board) are crucial terms that define buyer and seller responsibilities. Though similar, they have distinct features:

Delivery Point:

  • FCA: Seller delivers goods to an agreed location, like premises or warehouse.
  • FOB: Seller’s duty ends when goods are loaded onto buyer’s vessel, typically at a port.

Transportation Responsibility:

  • FCA: Seller arranges and pays for transportation to named delivery place.
  • FOB: Seller delivers goods to port, buyer handles transportation to final destination.

Transfer of Risk and Ownership:

  • FCA: Risk shifts to buyer at named place of delivery.
  • FOB: Risk transfers when goods pass ship’s rail at port of shipment.


  • FCA: Flexible for all transportation modes: road, rail, air, or sea.
  • FOB: Specifically for sea or inland waterway transport; not applicable to other modes.

In conclusion, FCA Incoterms and FOB terms delineate seller and buyer responsibilities. FCA offers flexibility in delivery place and transport modes, while FOB is tailored for sea or inland waterway transport, with delivery at a port.

What Is the Difference Between FCA and DDP?

FCA (Free Carrier) and DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) are both Incoterms utilized in international trade, but they diverge significantly in terms of buyer and seller responsibilities:

  1. Delivery Point:

    • FCA: The seller delivers goods to a mutually agreed location, such as their premises or a designated spot. Once delivered, the seller’s responsibility ceases, and the buyer takes charge.
    • DDP: Sellers are accountable for delivering goods to the buyer’s specified location, typically their premises. This encompasses all costs and risks related to transportation, import clearance, and duties until delivery at the buyer’s site.
  2. Transportation Responsibility:

    • FCA: Sellers organize and pay for transportation to the named delivery place. Subsequently, buyers handle transportation to the final destination.
    • DDP: Sellers are responsible for arranging and covering transportation costs to the buyer’s designated location, including all associated risks until goods reach the buyer’s premises.
  3. Risk and Ownership Transfer:

    • FCA: Risk transfers from the seller to the buyer at the named delivery place. Once goods are loaded onto the buyer’s chosen transport mode, buyers assume responsibility.
    • DDP: Sellers bear the risk of loss or damage to goods until they are delivered to the buyer’s premises.
  4. Responsibility for Import Clearance and Duties:

    • FCA: Buyers are responsible for import clearance, including duties and taxes, after goods are delivered to the named place.
    • DDP: Sellers handle all import clearance processes, including duty and tax payments, until delivery at the buyer’s premises.

In essence, while both FCA Incoterms and DDP terms entail sellers arranging and paying for transportation, their distinctions lie in the delivery point and the extent of seller responsibilities. FCA Incoterms involves delivery to a named place where seller responsibility ends, whereas DDP entails delivery to the buyer’s premises with the seller bearing all costs and risks until that point.

Who Pays for FCA Shipping?

In FCA (Free Carrier) shipping terms, the seller is accountable for organizing and covering the expenses related to transporting the goods to the agreed-upon named place with the buyer.

This entails bearing the costs of transporting the goods from their own premises or another designated location to the specified delivery point.

However, it’s crucial to understand that although the seller handles the transportation costs to the named place of delivery under FCA terms, the buyer takes on the responsibility for any subsequent transportation expenses beyond that point.

Furthermore, the buyer is tasked with managing import clearance procedures, duties, taxes, and any other charges incurred after the goods have been delivered to the named place.

Therefore, to directly address your inquiry, the seller is responsible for paying FCA Incoterms shipping expenses up to the named place of delivery as stipulated in the contract.

The Bottom Line

In FCA shipping terms, the seller shoulders pre-carriage to a terminal, delivery to the agreed destination, and provides proof of delivery. Additionally, they handle export packaging, licenses, and customs formalities. Conversely, in FCA shipments, the buyer takes on payment for the goods, assumes responsibility for the primary mode of transportation, and covers loading charges. Importantly, the buyer also addresses import duties, taxes, and formalities

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