LCL Shipping Guide: 4 Pros & Cons You Need to Know

When talking about shipping goods, there are two types of methods you should know: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL). The primary difference between these two is evident in their names. FCL means that the goods of a client are sufficient enough to fill a container. Shipping companies then place these items inside and seal them to prevent damage. On the other hand, LCL shipment in Singapore is the opposite. Products of a client are not enough to fill a container. Therefore, shipping personnel place these items beside others to fill them.

Among the two, LCL shipping is the most common method that users of ecommerce platforms, such as Lazada, Zalora, and Shopee use in delivering overseas goods right to their doorstep. Therefore, as one of many who benefit from these applications, you might be wondering what are the pros and cons of LCL shipping. If yes, read this article and learn more about the positives and negatives of this method.

LCL Shipping Guide: 4 Pros & Cons You Need to Know

Before diving into the pros and cons of LCL shipping, it is important to understand several aspects surrounding this method. While users of Lazada, Zalora and other ecommerce platforms may have some clues about it, here are three things you should know about this shipping method.

What Do You Need to Know About LCL?

Cargo Size

As mentioned previously, LCL shipping means that the goods of a client are insufficient to fill a container. As a response, shipping companies fill that space with the items of other people whose destination is the same as that of the client.

Shipping Time

Unlike FCL, LCL shipment in Singapore typically takes longer to fulfil due to multiple consolidation procedures and preparations that goods need to take. Generally speaking, LCL shipping takes around a week for it to arrive at its destination.

Multiple Touch Points

Users of Lazada, Zalora and other ecommerce platforms are aware that these applications provide real-time information regarding the status of their goods. The data they provide is the steps an LCL shipping procedure has in store for items that take this method. Generally speaking, the following are the steps an overseas product takes once it leaves its seller:

  • The product arrives at a storage facility
  • Product leaves and heads towards a consolidation warehouse where the item is consolidated with other shipments
  • The container heads to a departure port where logistics take the necessary steps to prepare the cargo
  • Once it arrives, logistics send the container to a warehouse where segregation of LCL shipment takes place
  • Afterwards, logistics send your product to a local delivery service
  • A courier then starts their shift delivering your product

Since your goods take several days in the hands of a logistics company, you must ensure that the seller, or whoever is responsible for packaging your order, takes necessary precautions to keep its condition safe.

Pros & Cons of LCL Shipping


Now that you know what LCL shipping is, understanding its pros and cons is your next step in determining whether the method is safe whenever you buy something overseas from ecommerce platforms. While you may not have alternatives regarding your shipping option, knowing the advantages and disadvantages can be helpful when you’re having difficulty deciding between local or international sellers. With that said, continue reading this article to learn more.


1. Less Expensive

Unlike FCL, an LCL freight forwarder won’t charge the same full price to all clients. Instead, they will split shipping costs, making it cheaper. Logically speaking, it makes sense to have lower fees when your order isn’t occupying the entire container. However, your share might be higher if your product is larger than others. Fortunately, ecommerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee typically charge standard shipping rates no matter the size of your items. Furthermore, these applications offer regular free shipping vouchers you can use if you meet the necessary criteria.

2. Goods Spend Less Time in Warehouses

Due to the number of overseas orders from ecommerce platforms, LCL shipping eliminates any worries about a product spending days in a warehouse. While delivery times still take around a week, you have the assurance that your orders are on the move, transferring from one building to another until it reaches your home.


3. Risk of Damaged Goods

Lower shipping costs of LCL shipping come with their risks. One of these is the possibility that your items receive scratches, stains, and other damages due to it being near other products, some of which may most likely have strong smells, sharp edges, or contain liquids. One way you can ensure that your items arrive in perfect condition is by checking various sellers in ecommerce stores and choosing those that send their merchandise in proper packaging.

4. Delivery is Usually Longer

One disadvantage of LCL shipping is the time it takes to bring goods from a seller to your doorstep. As mentioned previously, there are multiple steps your order takes. From storage facilities to local delivery services, your items can take a week before they arrive. Therefore, if you are in a rush, consider ordering the product several days before you use it, preferably a week.



While LCL shipping is a viable option for clients with goods that aren’t large enough to occupy an entire container, this method has several advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these is essential in determining whether users of ecommerce platforms like Zalora and Shopee will choose an overseas store over a local one.

However, it is crucial to understand that LCL shipping takes longer to deliver than FCL. The primary cause is the need for goods to go through several consolidation stages before it arrives at a local delivery service. Furthermore, mandatory customs clearance can take a while, further increasing delivery times. Nevertheless, this method is cheaper as clients like you don’t have to worry about paying for an entire shipment container. With that said, you should ensure that the packaging of your order is sufficient to protect it from potential scratches, stains, or corrosion due to the presence of other goods.

If you are looking for reliable LCL consolidators in Singapore, check out STAR CONCORD for their import and export services. Visit their website for more information.