How to prepare an LCL shipment

8 Steps to Prepare Your Less-Than-Container Load (LCL) Shipment

When it comes to shipping cargo, you have several choices tailored to the size and weight of your shipment. Less-than-Container Load (LCL) is one such option where your goods share a container with other consignments en route to the same destination.

If you’re planning an LCL shipment, there are steps you must take to ensure a seamless process. Here’s a succinct guide on how to ready your LCL shipment.


Understanding Less than container Load (LCL) Shipping


Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) shipping is a cost-effective method of sea freight transport. In LCL shipping, multiple consignments are consolidated into a single container, which is then shipped to its destination. This approach leads to lower shipping expenses and shorter transit times compared to shipping each parcel individually.


To guarantee the secure and safe transportation of your goods, all LCL shipments are managed by seasoned professionals certified by the International Sea Freight Association. At Super International Shipping, we partner exclusively with trustworthy and leading carriers in the industry, giving you peace of mind that your cargo will be delivered promptly and in impeccable condition.

When using LCL shipping, your goods will be in a shared container space along with other shipments. This scenario increases the likelihood of damage to your cargo, largely due to insufficient or improper packing – the most common cause of LCL shipment damage. Although you can’t control how others pack their goods, you can definitely take additional steps to ensure your LCL shipment is well-prepared.

Understanding LCL Shipping

Guidelines for Readying Your LCL (less Than Container Load) Shipment

The method of preparing your Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) shipment can vary significantly, depending on the specific nature of the goods you’re transporting. Key factors to consider are the fragility of your items and the total quantity of boxes included in the shipment.

Below, we’ve outlined a few essential steps to help you get your LCL shipment ready:

Guidelines for Readying Your LCL Shipment

Step 1: Select the Right Boxes and Pack Them Well

Getting your LCL shipment ready isn’t just about throwing your items into any box; it’s about carefully choosing the right boxes and packing them well. Remember, your shipment is about to embark on a sea voyage, which can be rough at times. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to packing.

Here’s how you can pack your LCL shipment like a pro:

  • Start by picking boxes that are strong and in top-notch condition.
  • Are your items fragile? Make them snug and secure with bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts.
  • Got boxes with sharp edges or corners? Give them a soft touch with some padding.
  • And don’t forget to label each box. Write down what’s inside and where it’s headed. It’s an easy step that can save you a lot of hassle later on.

Step 2 : Make Sure Your Boxes are Clearly Marked

When utilizing Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) shipping, it’s vital to mark each of your boxes clearly. This practice aids port workers in determining where each box should be placed within the container. Absence of clear labels might lead to mix-ups and subsequent delivery delays.

Always include your full name and contact information on every label. This simple step can help quickly resolve any potential issues with your shipment, making your overseas move a breeze.

Each box should prominently display the following details, ideally on all sides:

With this approach, your information stays visible, regardless of how the boxes are stacked in the container. Considering the nature of LCL shipping, where cargo may undergo multiple stages of loading and unloading, clear labeling is crucial.

Step 3 : Use Sequential Numbering for Your Boxes

When shipping your items via Less-than-Container-Load (LCL), numbering your boxes sequentially is a smart move. This simple step can streamline the freight forwarder’s processing of your shipment, helping to prevent any delays. Here are three key reasons why sequential numbering is crucial:

Keep Track of Your Goods: Sequential numbering offers an easy way to monitor your boxes throughout the shipping process, ensuring nothing gets lost or misplaced.

Aid the Freight Forwarder: If the freight forwarder can quickly identify the sequence of the boxes, they can process your shipment more efficiently, minimizing any delays or complications.

Prevent Confusion: Should there be any issues with your shipment, sequential numbering helps avoid confusion about which box is which.

Each box should be labeled with a number indicating its sequence, relative to the total number of boxes you’re shipping. For example, if you’re sending 10 boxes, label them as follows:

  • Box #1 of 10
  • Box #2 of 10
  • Box #3 of 10…

You may include this numbering on the primary label of the box or as a separate label.

Step 4: Use a Fragile Label When Necessary

Shipping via Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) means your cargo isn’t packed as tightly as it would be in Full-Container-Load (FCL). This situation increases the risk of damage during transportation. Therefore, handling fragile items requires extra care.

If an item needs a fragile label, ensure it’s attached clearly and conspicuously. This label alerts handlers to exercise caution during transit. Even if an item doesn’t carry a fragile label, it’s still important to pack it with care.

By investing time in properly packing your delicate items, you increase the chances they’ll arrive at their destination in the same condition they were when they left.

Step 5 : Figure Out Your Shipment Volume and Pack Your Goods onto Pallets

When you’re dealing with Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) shipping, one of the key steps is packing your items onto pallets correctly. This isn’t just about making sure everything’s secure for the journey – it’s also about making sure you use the space in the container efficiently.

So, how do you work out your shipment volume? Well, you’ll need to know the dimensions of your items and how many items you’re shipping. Multiply the length, width, and height of each item by the number of items you have, and then add these totals up. That’s your total shipment volume.

Once you’ve figured out how many pallets you need, you can start packing! Make sure each item is fastened securely to the pallet, and there’s plenty of space between each item. This will help keep your items safe and sound during their journey.

And if you’re not sure how to pack your goods onto pallets, just get in touch with your freight forwarder. They’re the experts, and they’ll be able to give you all the advice you need to make sure your shipment arrives safely at its destination.


Step 6 –  Uniformly Package Your Goods

When preparing cargo for Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) shipping, it’s crucial to stack your goods uniformly. Avoid having parts stick out too high or creating unstable stacks due to imbalanced distribution. Since shipping costs are volume-based, uneven packing could lead to higher costs.

Uniform packaging not only ensures your goods fit neatly into the container, but also helps prevent damage during transit. Moreover, it simplifies the loading and unloading process.

Here are a few tips to make sure your goods are packaged uniformly:

  • Try to maintain similar size and weight across all your items.
  • Pack your items tightly together, using packing materials to fill any gaps.
  • Clearly label each item with its dimensions and weight.

By sticking to these recommendations, you can help guarantee that your goods will remain safe and secure throughout their overseas journey.


Step 7 :  Clearly Label Non-Stackable Pallets

Shipping certain types of goods might make stacking a less than ideal option, especially for fragile items. If you prefer to keep your pallets unstacked, it’s critical to tell your freight forwarder when making your reservation. Additionally, label the boxes that shouldn’t be stacked on all sides.

If you’re dealing with a non-stackable pallet, it must be labeled as such. This label makes sure the freight handlers know not to stack any other pallets on top of it, which could risk damaging your shipment.

Remember, not all pallets are the same. Some are smaller, and others are made from materials not suitable for stacking. If you’re using a custom or non-standard size pallet, make sure to label it properly.

Taking the time to appropriately label your non-stackable pallets helps ensure your shipment arrives at its destination in the same condition it started. This simple step can save you potential headaches and losses down the line.

Step 8:  Stick to Plastic or Treated Wood Pallets

Palletizing mostly happens after the goods get to the warehouse, but you can also choose to do it yourself. If you decide to handle it, as outlined in the guide Understanding Pallets: Types, Sizes, Uses, and Stacking Guide, we recommend using either plastic pallets or wood pallets that have been properly treated.

Plastic pallets are durable, hygienic, and ready for reuse. They don’t have the hygiene issues of wooden pallets and they sidestep the need for pest treatments in international shipping. However, they’re more expensive and repair isn’t their strong suit.

Treated wood pallets, on the other hand, are typically more affordable and easily accessible. They can be made from various kinds of wood, with poplar and pine being common choices. However, they need to be properly treated to resist moisture, insects, and to meet international shipping regulations.

These materials reduce the risk of customs authorities at the destination rejecting your shipment for non-compliance with regulations. Moreover, untreated pallets can be a fire hazard and could potentially damage your goods. Therefore, sticking to plastic or treated wood pallets can ensure safer and smoother shipping of your goods.



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