Published on October 27th, 2020
A wise trader is one who evaluates his decisions thoroughly before documenting and putting a pin in them. Out of all the crucial steps, choosing an appropriate shipping container is also one that can affect the process. Before agreeing on the terms of shipment with the carrier, a trader must book a container for loading the shipping goods.
He must choose between the LCL (Less than Container Loads) and FCL (Full Container Load) containers. A lot of traders make their choices based on the opinions of other parties in the industry. However, an exporter is better-off only when he takes the decisions after contemplating the pros and cons.
For the ones who are pondering over the efficiency and benefits of FCL shipments, there are a few things on the checklist that they need to tick off.
An FCL container is for the use of one exporter only unlike the LCL container which holds multiple consignments of different sellers. To book an FCL container, get instant quotes and know the prevailing rates, click on this link and explore.
Prerequisites to Know Before Opting For FCL
The profitability of choosing a shipping container depends on the size and weight of the freight. If it is small, LCL containers are the best, but if the consignment has over 12 palettes, exporters must go for FCL shipments. However, there are a few vital things to know before booking an FCL container for international freight shipment.
1. Prevailing Freight Rate In The Market
Freight charges determine the profit margin a trader can extract from a shipping contract. The fundamentals of determining freight rates of FCL containers are different from that of LCL. LCL shipments charge as per the weight and volume of the cargo while FCL containers have a flat charge.
Since an exporter has to book or rent the container in FCL shipments, the carriers or shipping lines charge a fixed sum. This sum varies from one shipper to another. Therefore, an exporter should analyse the market options thoroughly.
2. Sufficient Amount Of Cargo
There are two most popular and commonly used FCL containers in the shipping industry. The first one is the 20-foot container, and the second is the 40-foot container.
The former can carry up to 10 standard pallets or 11 European pallets while the latter can store 21 standard pallets or 25 European pallets. An exporter must have a sufficient amount of cargo before he books an FCL container so that he can make the most use of the space.
Types Of FCL Shipments
There are four processes of FCL shipment, and the cost of each one varies from the other. The exporters have to be rational enough to judge and decide which shipping process they would like to choose. These four processes are:
- Door to door (from the exporter’s place to the importer’s place).
- Door to port (from the exporter’s place to the importer’s defined destination port).
- Port to door (from the port of shipment to the importer’s place).
- Port to Port (from the port of shipment to the port of delivery).
3. Delivery Schedule Of The Container
FCL containers are less frequent and are available on a tight schedule. To avoid delays, exporters should book the container in advance after analysing the availability and judging the delivery schedule.
4. Detention And Demurrage
Every trader must know about the detention and demurrage charges that the port authorities or the carrier charge under a defined circumstance. An exporter has to pay a demurrage fee if he keeps his booked FCL container on the port after the demurrage free time expires.
And if he uses the container outside the port for an extended period after the free period expires, he has to pay the detention fee charged by the liable authorities.
The demurrage and detention free period may vary from country to country and from one port to another. Therefore, a trader must analyse this aspect and make sure he makes all the arrangements within the defined time.
Where To Book An FCL Container?
Carriers, logistics service providers, shipping companies, port owners, and warehouses offer FCL and LCL containers. Although every trader is free to decide where he wishes to make the booking, it is always beneficial to choose a renowned shipping service provider.
A few leading companies in India offer complete trading services, including shipping container booking.
One can get a lot of additional services and facilities that are helpful in the trade business. Therefore, it is always a win-win situation to partner with a reliable service provider.
FCL containers are economical, safe and ideal for bulk shipments. The major responsibility of the exporter is to consider all the aspects and then plan a systematic shipping process that is free of hindrances.
One cannot control the inevitable delays and fluctuations in the international trade industry but it is possible to ride the safe boat which in this case, is by choosing FCL containers for shipment.