FCL Shipping Guides: A Comprehensive Overview by Topshipping

FCL Shipping Guides: A Comprehensive Overview by Topshipping

February 21, 2024

FCL shipping, also known as Full Container cargo shipping, is a extensively habituated system for transporting goods across the globe. As an assiduity- leading company, Topshipping aims to give a comprehensive companion to FCL shipping, covering crucial aspects and for businesses and individualities involved in transnational trade.

Understanding FCL Shipping

Understanding FCL Shipping

Are you shipping items in high volumes?

Whether it’s large furniture, delicate ceramics, or fragile flat-screen TVs, if you’re dealing with sizable quantities, you’re likely an FCL (Full Container Load) shipper.

However, navigating the world of FCL shipping can be complex and daunting without proper guidance.

That’s why we’ve sought advice from industry experts to compile this comprehensive guide to FCL shipping.

Dive in to discover everything you need to know about shipping full containers.

FCL definition

FCL, or Full Container Load, refers to a type of cargo shipment where the entire contents of a shipping container are owned and shipped by a single consignee.

In FCL shipping, the shipper is responsible for filling the container with their goods, which could include anything from merchandise and personal effects to industrial equipment or raw materials.

Since the container is exclusively reserved for one shipper’s goods, there is no mixing of cargo from multiple shippers within the same container, reducing the risk of damage or loss.

FCL shipments are typically used when the volume of goods is sufficient to fill at least one standard shipping container, such as a 20-foot or 40-foot container.

This method offers greater control over the shipping process and may be more cost-effective for large volumes of cargo compared to other shipping methods like Less than Container Load (LCL).


What does FCL stand for?

FCL stands for “Full Container Load.” In the realm of international shipping and logistics, it signifies a shipment method where an entire shipping container is utilized by a single consignee to transport their goods.

This means that the container is filled to capacity with the goods of one shipper, without combining cargo from multiple sources.

The shipper is responsible for loading their goods into the container, which can accommodate various types of items ranging from consumer goods and machinery to raw materials and perishables.

FCL shipments are typically employed when the volume of goods to be transported is sufficient to fill at least one standard-sized shipping container, such as a 20-foot or 40-foot container.

By utilizing FCL, shippers can enjoy several benefits, including greater control over their cargo, reduced risk of damage or loss since goods are not mixed with those of other shippers, and potentially lower overall shipping costs compared to other methods like Less than Container Load (LCL) where multiple shippers’ goods are consolidated into one container.

Overall, FCL provides a streamlined and efficient means of shipping for businesses and individuals requiring large quantities of goods to be transported internationally, offering reliability, security, and cost-effectiveness.


The benefits and drawbacks of shipping FCL

Benefits of FCL Shipping:

Exclusive Use of Container:

With FCL shipping, the entire container is dedicated to the goods of one shipper, eliminating the risk of damage or loss from mixing cargo with other shippers’ goods.

Reduced Handling:

FCL shipments typically involve fewer handling stages compared to LCL (Less than Container Load), reducing the risk of damage and minimizing transit time.

Increased Security:

Since the container is sealed at the point of origin and remains unopened until it reaches the destination, FCL shipments offer greater security for the contents of the container.


FCL shipping provides flexibility in terms of packing and loading, allowing shippers to optimize the use of space within the container according to their specific requirements.

Cost-Effectiveness: For shipments with large volumes of goods, FCL shipping can be more cost-effective on a per-unit basis compared to other shipping methods like LCL.

Drawbacks of FCL Shipping:

Higher Costs for Small Shipments:

FCL shipping may not be cost-effective for small volumes of goods since the shipper pays for the entire container, even if it’s not fully utilized.

Requires Inventory Management:

Shippers need to have sufficient inventory to fill a container, which may require additional storage space and inventory management efforts.

Limited Destination Access:

Some destinations may have restrictions on container sizes or infrastructure limitations, making it challenging to use FCL shipping for certain locations.

Potential for Delays:

If there are delays in filling the container or issues with customs clearance, it can lead to longer transit times and potential storage fees at ports.

Container Availability:

During peak seasons or in high-demand routes, securing available containers for FCL shipments may be challenging, leading to potential delays or increased costs.

In summary, while FCL shipping offers numerous benefits such as enhanced security, reduced handling, and flexibility, it may not be suitable for all shipments due to factors such as cost considerations, inventory management requirements, and destination limitations.

Shippers should carefully weigh the advantages and drawbacks of FCL shipping to determine the most suitable shipping method for their specific needs.

How much does it cost to ship a shipping container?


Determining the cost of shipping a shipping container involves various factors, particularly when shipping via FCL (Full Container Load). With FCL, shippers pay a fixed fee for the entire container, irrespective of the volume of goods loaded into it. Generally, once the shipment exceeds a certain volume, typically around 13 cubic meters (CBM), opting for FCL becomes more cost-effective compared to LCL (Less than Container Load) due to lower unit costs.

However, several factors influence FCL pricing:

GRIs (General Rate Increases):

Carriers may implement GRIs, which are increases in container prices, at the beginning and middle of each month, often in response to demand fluctuations. These adjustments can impact shipping costs.

Peak Season Price Spikes:

Peak season, typically occurring between August and November, sees increased shipping volumes as businesses prepare for the holiday shopping season. During this period, carriers may impose surcharges or experience capacity constraints, leading to higher FCL prices.

Holiday Delays:

Shippers should consider holidays such as the Chinese New Year (usually in February) and Golden Week in the fall, particularly if shipping from China. These week-long holidays can disrupt shipping schedules, affecting demand and pricing. It’s essential to check local calendars for significant holidays that may impact shipping operations.

Navigating these factors is crucial for shippers to effectively manage costs and plan their shipping logistics. By staying informed about GRIs, peak season surcharges, and holiday schedules, shippers can make informed decisions to optimize their FCL shipments and mitigate potential cost fluctuations.

What’s FCL Shipping?

FCL shipping involves the exclusive use of a shipping vessel to transport goods. Unlike LCL( lower than Container cargo) shipping, where multiple shipments partake a vessel, FCL allows for lesser control and security over the weight.

Benefits of FCL Shipping

FCL shipping offers several advantages, including:

  • Reduced threat of damage or loss due to exclusive use of the vessel.
  • Faster conveyance times as holders aren’t delayed by other shipments.
  • Inflexibility in quilting and lading, icing effective space application.
  • Simplified customs concurrence processes.

When it comes to dispatching big and heavy goods, FCL( Full Container cargo) shipping emerges as the ideal system. FCL shipping offers a range of benefits that set it piecemeal from other shipping options. Let’s claw into the crucial reasons why FCL shipping should be your top choice:

1.Cost- effectiveness

Among colorful shipping options, ocean freight is famed for its affordability. Within ocean freight, shippers have the option of LCL( lower than Container cargo) or FCL shipping. still, for big goods, FCL stands out as the most cost-effective choice. Compared to LCL, FCL shipping boasts a lower cost per boxy cadence( CBM). Transporting goods in bulk through FCL proves further provident than dispatching lower amounts. Shippers with multiple entrustments can consolidate them into a single FCL payload, performing in reduced costs.

2. Safety and Security:

Shipping goods innately raises enterprises about safety and security. Issues like damage, theft, and loss of particulars generally do when multiple individualities handle goods, as is the case with LCL shipments where vessel space is participated among several shippers. FCL shipping guarantees the safety of goods since a vessel belongs simply to one shipper. Accordingly, only a limited number of people handle the goods, minimizing the pitfalls. likewise, certain goods bear lower running, making FCL the favored option for their transportation.

3. Expedited Delivery:

really, FCL shipping is the briskly choice for ocean freight transportation. Goods packed via FCL generally reach their destination 4- 7 days before than those packed via LCL. Several factors contribute to the dizzy delivery of FCL shipments:

  • No connection or deconsolidation of goods is needed.
  • Shippers do not have to stay for goods from other shippers.
  • Shipping is direct, with goods moving straight from the supplier to the importer.
  • The FCL shipping process is simpler and involves smaller documents compared to LCL, performing in a shorter overall process.

4. Effective Tracking:

The capability to track goods with real- time updates provides significant advantages to shippers. FCL shipping simplifies shadowing, allowing shippers to cover the progress of their shipments throughout the transportation trip. Real- time updates enhance translucency and enable timely decision- timber.

5. Simultaneous arrival of goods:

In cases where a shipper has multiple goods packed as a single consignment, FCL ensures that all the goods arrive together. Since they’re treated as one unit during shipping, shippers can anticipate the entire consignment to arrive contemporaneously. This facilitates smoother logistics planning and streamlines operations for businesses.

By using FCL shipping, businesses can enjoy cost savings, heightened safety measures, briskly delivery times, effective shadowing capabilities, and accompanied appearance of goods. These advantages make FCL the favored choice for transporting big and heavy goods, furnishing a dependable and effective shipping result.

Suitable Cargo for FCL Shipping

FCL shipping is ideal for:

  • Large shipments that enthrall a significant portion or an entire vessel.
  • Fragile or high- value goods taking enhanced protection.
  • Time-sensitive shipments that demand expedited delivery.

Crucial Considerations for FCL Shipping

Container Types and Sizes

Understanding different vessel types (e.g., dry van, cooled, open- top) and sizes( 20ft, 40ft,etc.) is pivotal when planning FCL shipments. Topshipping offers a range of vessel options to accommodate different weight conditions.

Container Sizes for FCL Shipping

Container Sizes for FCL Shipping

When it comes to FCL( Full Container cargo) shipping, there’s a wide range of vessel types and sizes available to meet your specific requirements. Let’s explore the colorful vessel options in detail:

1. Dry Containers:

The most generally used holders for FCL shipping are dry holders. They aren’t temperature-sensitive and are ideal for transportingnon-perishable goods. Then are the different sizes of dry holders:

  • 20ft Container: This vessel has a capacity of33.2 boxy measures. It can accommodate roughly 9- 10 standard pallets or 11 Euro pallets.
  • 40ft Container: With a capacity of67.7 boxy measures, this vessel is larger than the 20ft bone . It can hold around 23- 24 Euro pallets or 20- 21 standard pallets.
  • 8ft Container: As the lowest vessel size, it offers a capacity of9.95 boxy measures. Its maximum gross weight is 6000 kilograms, and the tare weight is 950 kilograms.
  • 10ft Container: Slightly larger than the 8ft vessel, it provides a capacity of15.95 boxy measures. The maximum gross weight is 10000 kilograms, and the tare weight is 1000 kilograms.
  • 40HC Container: This vessel is analogous to the 40ft vessel but has a advanced capacity to accommodate high goods. It offers a capacity of76.4 boxy measures, a maximum gross weight of 30480 kilograms, and a tare weight of 3660 kilograms.
  • 53ft Container: The largest vessel size available, it weighs 5020 kilograms when empty and can be loaded up to 25460 kilograms.
  • 45HC Container: With a capacity of 86 boxy measures, this vessel is suitable for big weight. It has a tare weight of 4870 kilograms and a maximum gross weight of 32475 kilograms.

2. Special Containers:

In addition to dry holders, there are specialized holders designed for specific shipping conditions. Then are two exemplifications:

  • Reefer Containers: Reefer holders are equipped with temperature regulation systems, making them suitable for transporting perishable goods similar as fruits and vegetables. These holders insure that the weight remains fresh throughout the trip.
  • OOG( eschewal Of Gauge) Containers: OOG holders are used when dispatching particulars with irregular shapes or sizes. exemplifications of OOG holders include flat rack and open-top holders. They give inflexibility in accommodating large or unconventional weight.

Packaging and lading

Proper packaging and lading ways insure weight safety during conveyance. Topshipping recommends:

  • Using sturdy packaging accoutrements and securing goods within the vessel.
  • Distributing weight unevenly to maintain vessel stability.
  • Employing applicable dunnage and bracing for fragile particulars.

Attestation and Customs Compliance

Accurate attestation is vital for flawless FCL shipping. Topshipping assists guests in preparing essential documents, including:

1. Bill of Lading(BOL): This document is issued by the carrier to the shipper and must be inked by the supplier, carrier, and shipper. It contains important information similar as:

  • Type of goods being packed
  • volume of goods
  • Destination of the goods
  • Name and address of the philanthropist
  • Terms of trade

2. Commercial Invoice: This document is essential for customs concurrence and is issued to the shipper. It provides details about the value of the goods and dispatching information, including:

  • Supplier’s details
  • Buyer’s details
  • Anchorages of lading and destination
  • Terms of payment

3. Packing list: The packing list provides a comprehensive force of the payload. It includes the following information:

  • Description of the goods
  • volume of the goods
  • Type of packaging used
  • Number of packages
  • Carrier’s name
  • Shipping date

4. Bill of export (shipping bill): Bill of Export( Shipping Bill) This document is filed at the harborage of lading and contains the following details:

  • Information about the exported goods
  • Vessel name
  • Exporter’s details
  • Port of lading
  • Destination country

5. Bill of entry: To allow the goods into the destination country, a bill of entry is filed either by custom concurrence agents or the importer. It includes the following information:

  • Importer’s details
  • Exporter’s details
  • Import license number
  • Destination harborage
  • Description and value of the goods
  • Rate of import duty

FCL Shipping Process

Booking and Container Allocation

Topshipping simplifies the booking process, icing timely vessel allocation grounded on your payload conditions. Our advanced shadowing systems give real- time visibility throughout the shipping trip.


Once the vessel is allocated, our educated platoon handles the lading process efficiently, clinging to assiduity stylish practices. We arrange secure, exercising our expansive network of trusted carriers.

Customs Clearance and Delivery

FCL delivery services

FCL shipping is a port-to-port service but an importer can request the following services:

  • Door-to-door
  • Door-to-port
  • Port-to-door

Topshipping’s devoted customs concurrence experts navigate complex customs procedures, icing compliance with regulations. Upon concurrence, we coordinate the final delivery to the designated destination, furnishing end- to- end support.


FCL shipping offers a dependable and effective result for transporting goods encyclopedically. With Topshipping’s comprehensive companion, businesses and individualities can navigate the complications of FCL shipping with confidence. By using our moxie and acclimatized services, you can optimize your force chain and insure the safe and timely delivery of your weight. Contact Topshipping moment to explore how we can streamline your FCL shipping needs.

How to ship FCL with TopShipping

When you choose to bespeak your FCL payload with TopShipping, we take care of the confusing and time- consuming details for you. Then is how our services can profit you

As a trusted shipping provider, TopShipping offers a flawless booking experience. You will have access to a wide range of real- time quotations, barring the need for back- and- forth communication with freight forwarders. With just a regard, you can compare request rates and make an informed decision.

During the booking process, you can accessibly add insurance and customs concurrence services for your payload. We insure that all necessary attestation and compliance conditions are taken care of, saving you time and trouble.

With TopShipping, tracking your payload is hassle-free. Our platform provides real- time shadowing updates, allowing you to cover the progress of your weight from volley to delivery.

Our devoted support platoon is available to help you with any questions or enterprises that may arise throughout the shipping process. We prioritize client satisfaction and strive to give prompt and dependable backing.

Choose TopShipping for your FCL shipping needs and witness a streamlined and effective shipping result. communicate us moment to get started and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your payload is in able hands.


FAQs for FCL Shipping with TopShipping:

What is FCL shipping?

Full Container Load shipping, involves the exclusive use of a shipping vessel to transport goods. It offers greater control and security over the weight compared to LCL (Less than Container Load) shipping.

What are the benefits of FCL shipping?

  • Reduced threat of damage or loss due to exclusive use of the vessel.
  • Faster conveyance times as containers aren’t delayed by other shipments.
  • Inflexibility in quilting and lading, maximizing space utilization.
  • Simplified customs compliance processes.

Why should I choose FCL shipping?

FCL shipping is cost-effective for transporting large and heavy goods. It provides safety and security for your goods since a vessel belongs solely to one shipper. FCL shipments also have expedited delivery times, effective tracking capabilities, and ensure simultaneous arrival of goods.

What types and sizes of containers are available for FCL shipping?

TopShipping offers a range of container types and sizes, including:

  • Dry Containers: 20ft, 40ft, 8ft, 10ft, 40HC, 53ft, and 45HC containers.
  • Special Containers: Reefer containers for perishable goods and OOG (Out of Gauge) containers for irregularly shaped or sized goods.

What should I keep in mind for FCL shipping?

Some crucial include understanding container types and sizes, proper packaging and loading techniques, and ensuring accurate documentation and customs compliance.

How does the FCL shipping process work with TopShipping?

The FCL shipping process with TopShipping involves booking and container allocation, efficient loading, customs clearance, and delivery. TopShipping offers port-to-port services and additional options like door-to-door, door-to-port, or port-to-door delivery.

How can I ship FCL with TopShipping?

To ship FCL with TopShipping, you can easily book your payload through their platform, access real-time quotations, and compare rates. TopShipping takes care of insurance, customs compliance, and provides hassle-free tracking and dedicated support throughout the shipping process.

Why should I choose TopShipping for my FCL shipping needs?

TopShipping offers a streamlined and effective shipping solution for FCL shipments. They provide a seamless booking experience, take care of necessary documentation and compliance, offer real-time tracking, and have a dedicated support team to assist you.

How can I contact TopShipping to explore my FCL shipping needs?

You can contact TopShipping to explore your FCL shipping needs by reaching out to their customer support team. They will be able to provide you with further information and assistance.

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