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KMR Blog: The Flexibility of LCL Transports

LCL transports – The Flexible Alternative for Small Quantities of Goods

LCL – this abbreviation stands for Less than Container Load in logistics. Put simply, this form of transport could also be called “container sharing,” because manufacturers, retailers or e-commerce traders who book an LCL transport share a container with other customers.

Advantages of LCL Transport: More Flexibility and Cost Savings

Traders should always consider LCL transport when the quantity of goods ordered in Asia, for example, is too small to fill a 40-foot freight container (FCL = Full Container Load), or when replenishment is urgently needed but the supplier can only deliver part of the ordered quantity. LCL transport should also be considered when it is not clear whether an article can be sold in the usual quantity in a special situation (such as swimwear during the wintertime). In such cases, it may make sense to order a smaller stock and use LCL transport.

An LCL transport is not only an alternative in case of uncertain sales volumes or supply bottlenecks, it also allows retailers to limit expensive stock-keeping. Many e-commerce merchants, for example, have only limited storage space available and have to rent additional storage space if they order large quantities of goods. In such cases, it is often more cost-effective to order a smaller number of items and reorder them as needed. Although the cost of LCL transport per item is usually higher than using a full container, this is a one-off expense. Storage space, on the other hand, often increases your costs over a longer period of time.

It’s also possible to order a smaller 20-foot container for transport, but shipping companies try to keep this smaller container size to a minimum on their ships. The reason: the cost of shipping is the same as for a container with twice the capacity, which is why a 20-foot container usually costs almost as much as its bigger brother.

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Terry, L. (2012, July 31). Thinking Small: The Business Case for LCL. Retrieved January 08,

2021, from


Laxmana, S. (2020, June 08). 3 Benefits of LCL Shipping. Retrieved January 08, 2021, from


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