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What does FCL, LCL and RoRo mean

By June 23, 2021September 20th, 2023No Comments3 min read

There are a wide variety of terms and acronyms that are used in the logistics and freight forwarding industry. Here we’ll take a look at three of them in more detail.

What does FCL mean?

FCL is an acronym used in Ocean Freight that stands for Full Container Load. This can be a confusing acronym as it doesn’t always mean that a shipment fills an entire container. Instead, it refers to the containers being in shipment mode and that container only contains a single shipment or part of a shipment. In other words, goods from one shipment are not being transported alongside goods from another shipment.

This is the preferred method of shipping goods for many businesses because there is a reduced risk of damage or loss. As FCL shipments don’t require consolidation and deconsolidation it can result in a quicker overall transit time. This can reduce the cost, and in some circumstances FCL may even be a cheaper option than the alternative. If the volume of the shipment occupies 75% of the smallest shipping container this could well be the case.

What does LCL mean?

LCL stands for less than a container load. This refers to shipments that do not fill a shipping container, and, as a result, will usually be grouped together with other cargo. These are sometimes known as groupage shipments.

When you’re shipping LCL you will only pay for the volume you need, unlike with FCL where you’re likely to be charged a flat-rate. If you’re shipping fewer goods more frequently it can mean you spend less on inventory space. LCL shipping is considerably cheaper than air freight, so if time allows, you can significantly reduce shipping costs. During the peak freight season, LCL space can be easier to locate than FCL.

However, LCL shipments will need to be loaded and unloaded from containers. This adds extra days to the journey. LCL tends to be more expensive per cubic metre than FCL shipments. Customs delays for other shipments in your groupage shipment can also cause delays, and LCL goods are handled more often along the way increasing the risk of damage.

What does RoRo mean?

Whether it’s written roro, RoRo or Ro-Ro, it’s a term you will hear a lot in the freight industry. It’s an abbreviation of the term ‘Roll-on, Roll-off’ and it describes the movement of cargo-laden vehicles such as lorries being loaded onto ships for further transporting.

‘RoRo Freight’ refers to cargo being shipped via this method, whereas when ‘a RoRo’ is mentioned it will be referring to the loaded ship itself. These are purpose built ships that are designed to allow for the easy embarkation and disembarkation of vehicles carrying freight. They will have built-in ramps that allow for the easy movement of vehicles on and off. RoRos are one of the most efficient means of transporting cargo.

Comprehensive freight forwarding services from SSO Logistics

At SSO Logistics, we provide a full freight forwarding service for our growing client list. We can provide global FCL and LCL services as well as Airfreight.

Contact us today to find out more.

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