Like many websites, Shipa Freight uses cookies to personalize your browsing experience.


How to prepare an LCL shipment

Shipping container being loaded onto a truck for international shipping with Shipa Freight
Effortless ShippingEffortless Shipping
Real-Time TrackingReal-Time Tracking
24X7 Customer Support24X7 Customer Support
Updated on 23 May 20228 min read

When shipping cargo, there are a few different options to choose from, depending on the size and weight of your shipment. One option is Less-than-Container Load (LCL), which involves packing your goods into a container with other shipments heading to the same destination.

If you're preparing an LCL shipment, there are a few things you'll need to do in order to make sure it goes smoothly. Here's a guide on how to prepare an LCL shipment.

LCL shipping

LCL shipping, or less-than-container-load shipping, is a transportation method used to move goods by sea. With LCL shipping, multiple shipments are combined into one container, which is then shipped to its destination. This results in lower shipping costs and transit times than if each shipment were transported individually.

To ensure that your goods are transported safely and securely, all LCL shipments are handled by experienced professionals who have been certified by the International Sea Freight Association. At Shipa Freight, we only work with the most reliable and reputable carriers in the industry, so you can rest assured that your cargo will arrive on time and in perfect condition.

When sending shipment via LCL shipping, your cargo will be sharing a container space alongside other cargo. This increases the risk of damage to your cargo, especially when the most common cause of damage to LCL shipment is insufficient and/or inadequate packing. While you have no control over how other shippers pack their cargo, you can certainly take extra precautions to ensure your LCL shipment is well-prepared.

How to prepare an LCL shipment

There’s no one proper way to prepare an LCL shipment and it all depends on the type of merchandise you’re shipping. Certain things to consider include whether or not your cargo includes fragile goods and the total number of boxes you’ll be sending.

Here are some guidelines on how to prepare an LCL shipment:

1. Use proper boxes and packaging

When preparing an LCL shipment, it is important to use proper boxes and packaging. This will help ensure that the shipment arrives at its destination safely and intact. A vessel out at sea may face rough conditions and it’s always best to over-protect than face damages.

Some tips for packing an LCL shipment:

  • Make sure all boxes are sturdy and in good condition.
  • Use packing materials such as bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts to protect fragile items.
  • Pad any sharp edges or corners on boxes.
  • Label each box with its contents and destination address.

2. Label your boxes clearly

If you are shipping your belongings in a container through LCL (less than container load), it is important to label each of your boxes clearly. This will ensure that the workers at the port know which box goes in which part of the container. If your boxes are not labeled, it can lead to confusion and delays in getting your belongings to their final destination.

Make sure to include your full name and contact information on each label, in case there are any problems with your shipment. Labeling your boxes clearly is one of the simplest ways to avoid any headaches during your move overseas.

All boxes must be clearly labeled with the following information, preferably on each side of the box:

  • Shipper name
  • Consignee name
  • Country of destination
  • Name of freight forwarder
  • Booking number

This way, the information is visible regardless of how your boxes end up being stacked in the container. Due to the nature of LCL shipping, your cargo may go through different stages of loading and unloading.

3. Number your boxes sequentially

​​If you are shipping your goods in a Less than Container Load (LCL), it is important to number your boxes sequentially. This will help the freight forwarder process your shipment more efficiently and avoid any delays. Here are three reasons why you should number your boxes:

  • To keep track of your goods: When you number your boxes, you will have an easy way to keep track of them throughout the entire shipping process. This will help ensure that nothing gets lost or misplaced.

  • To help the freight forwarder process your shipment quickly and efficiently: If the freight forwarder knows which box goes where they can process your shipment much more quickly and efficiently. This will help avoid any delays or complications.

  • To avoid confusion and chaos: If there are any problems with your shipment, it can be very confusing to try and figure out which box is which.

Label each box with a number that indicates its sequential order with respect to the total number of boxes you are sending. Eg. If you’re sending 10 boxes, label the boxes as such:

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

You may label this on the box’s main label or separately.

4. Attach a fragile label if needed

When sending a shipment via LCL, it's important to remember that the cargo is not as tightly packed as when using FCL. This means that there is a greater chance of items being damaged during transport. For this reason, it's important to take extra care in packing fragile items.

If you need to attach a fragile label to an item, make sure to do so clearly and prominently. This will help ensure that the item is handled with care during transit. Keep in mind that even if an item doesn't have a fragile label attached, it's still important to pack it carefully.

By taking the time to properly pack your fragile items, you can help ensure that they arrive at their destination in the same condition as when they left.

5. Calculate your shipment volume and properly palletize your goods

When you're shipping goods in a less-than-container load (LCL), it's important to make sure that they're properly palletized. This will ensure that they're secure during transport and that there's enough space in the container for all of your items.

In order to calculate your shipment volume, you'll need to know the dimensions of your items and the number of items you're shipping. Multiply the length, width, and height of each item by the number of items, then add these totals together. This is your total shipment volume.

Now that you know your shipment volume, you can determine how many pallets you'll need. Multiply the total shipment volume by 0.75 to get the number of standard pallets. If you have a non-standard pallet, divide the total shipment volume by 0.75 to get the number of pallets you'll need.

Once you know how many pallets you require, it's time to start packing! Make sure that each item is securely fastened to the pallet and that there's plenty of space between each item. This will help ensure that your items arrive safely at their destination.

If you're unsure of how to properly palletize your goods, contact your freight forwarder for assistance. They can help you determine the best way to pack your shipment and make sure that it arrives intact at its destination.

6. Package your goods uniformly

Stack your cargo as evenly and uniformly as you can. That means not having one part sticking out too high or shifting due to unbalanced distribution. Because shipping prices are determined based on the volume of the merchandise, an uneven distribution may result in higher costs.

​​When shipping goods in an LCL shipment, it’s important to package them uniformly so that they all fit comfortably in the container. This will help to avoid any damage during transit, and will also make the process of loading and unloading the container much easier.

There are a few things you can do to ensure your goods are packaged uniformly: Make sure all of your items are of a similar size and weight. Pack your items tightly together, using packing materials to fill any gaps. Label each item clearly with its dimensions and weight. By following these tips, you can be sure that your goods will be safe and secure during their journey overseas.

7. Label any non-stackable pallets

Depending on the type of merchandise you’re shipping, it may not be the most ideal option for them to be stacked, which is a common practice, especially if you’re sending fragile goods. As important as it is to properly palletize your cargo should you want to keep your pallets unstacked, make sure to let freight forwarder know when you make your reservation. You should also label this on all sides of the boxes you do not wish to have stacked.

If you have a non-stackable pallet, it will need to be labeled as such. This will ensure that the freight handlers know not to stack any other pallets on top of it, which could potentially damage your shipment.

It is also important to remember that not all pallets are created equal. Some are smaller than others, and some are made from materials that are not conducive to stacking. So if you are using a custom pallet or one that is not a standard size, be sure to label it accordingly.

Labeling your non-stackable pallets will help to ensure that your shipment arrives at its destination in the same condition as when it left. Taking the time to do this simple task will save you from potential headaches and losses later on.

8. Use only plastic or wood-treated pallets

Most palletizing happens after the goods arrive at the warehouse. You can, however, choose to palletize it yourself. Should you do so, we would recommend you to use either plastic pallets or wood pallets that have been properly treated. This reduces the risk of rejection by customs authorities at the destination for failure to comply with regulations. Moreso, untreated pallets can pose a fire hazard, and could also damage your goods.

You may also like