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Container Service Types

Container Service Types

If you look at a bill of lading, in some of them you would see the terms FCL/FCL or LCL/FCL etc..

What do they mean..??

FCL : Full Container Load – this is when the full container is used by a single customer for his cargo..

Container Service Type

FCL containers are usually packed and unpacked by the client at his premises at the origin and destination..

The client takes responsibility, liability for the packing and condition of the cargo packed in the FCL container..

LCL : Less than Container Load – this is when the same container is used for cargoes belonging to multiple shippers and consignees..

The clients deliver their cargo to the lines packing station (CFS – Container Freight Station) and the line then packs the delivered cargo on behalf of the client..

LCL Cargo

In the case of LCL containers, the shipping line takes responsibility and liability for the packing, condition and delivering of the cargo..

But the shipping lines do not offer LCL services in all countries..

For example in South Africa – there is no concept of LCL containers and LCL shipments are handled by Groupage operators..

GROUPAGE : Similar to LCL with the only difference that these containers, cargo packing etc are controlled by a Groupage operator instead of the shipping lines in the case of LCL containers..

Groupage Operator

The Groupage operator books the container with the shipping line as their cargo depending on how much cargo they have (20′ or 40′)..

Once the cargo is packed, they issue their own House Bills to their clients and collect the Master Bill of lading from the shipping line.. Example : CFR Freight

An additional aspect to consider here is that sometimes these service types are considered as Terms of Shipment in containerised shipments :

  • FCL/FCL – One shipper => One consignee
  • FCL/LCL – One shipper => Multiple consignees
  • LCL/FCL – Multiple shippers => One consignee
  • LCL/LCL – Multiple shippers => Multiple consignees

These terms indicate how the containers have been packed as..

There are some relatives to these above terms shown below which are used as “Delivery Terms” to indicate where the responsibility of the carrier or customer starts/ceases..

  • CY/CY – Container Yard/Container Yard
  • CY/CFS – Container Yard/Container Freight Station
  • CFS/CY – Container Freight Station/Container Yard
  • CFS/CFS – Container Freight Station/Container Freight Station

Have you seen or heard of any other service type or deliver term in containerised shipment..?? Do share if you have..

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