If your company is shipping goods, but you don’t have the quantity to fill a full ocean container, a Less than Container Load (LCL) service may be the answer. LCL shipments are handled by the shipping line and are more economical for companies than using airfreight, particularly when the shipment is not time-sensitive. The shipping line will gather all shipments marked LCL and combine them into one container.
By using an LCL service, a company can have access to the freight rates which apply to a standard shipping container, as they are sharing the container with other companies. You will only be charged for the percentage of the container that you are using. Costs can also be saved on warehousing, as it is not necessary to wait until you are able to fill a full container. The disadvantage here is that you can never be sure how your cargo will be loaded and what other types of cargo will be in the container with it.
Shipping consolidation uses a middle man to do the combining for you, instead of letting the shipping line handle it. The advantage of a shipping consolidation company over an LCL service is that they collect cargo from different companies and decide on the best way of combining the packages in a single container. This means that although it may be a bit more expensive, you can be sure that your cargo will be packed so that it doesn’t get damaged during the trip. Many consolidation companies also offer a door-to-door service meaning that you don’t have to spend time organising transport.