Why is there a difference in transit time between FCL and LCL cargo to the same destination..??

A very valid question posed by Kehkashan Mashal Zaffar via the question form.. rq

Hi,I am very much new to this field and my forwarder over here gives the different transition time for LCL and FCL cargos for same destination and discharge port. Is that true? am bit confused regarding this.

Kehkashan Mashal Zaffar

Kehkashan, in the case of FCL – the container is carrying cargo for one shipper and one consignee  and once loaded at the load port, is discharged at the port of discharge or moved further to the final place of delivery (in the case of combined transport bill of lading)..

Say from Durban, South Africa to Sydney, Australia.. The container is not opened or cargo re-worked along the way other than being transhipped at some hub port..

So the transit could be say 31 days from Durban to Sydney..

In the case of LCL (or Groupage) – the shipping line or groupage operator will load cargoes belonging to many shippers and many consignees in the same container going to various destinations (say) – Keelung, Penang, Sydney, Adelaide, Honiara in Solomon Islands, but the container will be discharged at (say) Singapore which could be the hub port of the shipping line or groupage operator where this container will be reworked and cargoes distributed to the various ports by consolidating a container containing all cargoes to Keelung, all cargoes to Penang, all cargoes to Sydney etc..

If there is not enough cargo for Sydney, from this LCL container and other LCL containers coming from around the world, the Sydney cargo may wait in Singapore till there is enough cargo to Sydney to fill a container..

So an LCL cargo bound from Durban to Sydney might take about 43 days by the time it reaches Sydney after the reworking etc whereas an FCL cargo will take lesser than that..

Sydney is a common port, so the delay (if any) might be very minimal, but if you take for example an exotic port like Honiara, which is not as popular as Sydney, the cargo could wait longer in Singapore.. And if there is no direct connection from Singapore to Honiara for the LCL cargo, this might have to be further reworked at another hub port..

Below diagram should help clarify (click on the image if you can’t read it clearly)

FCL and LCL Transit

This explains the difference in the transit time of an LCL cargo as compared to an FCL container..

Has your business been affected positively or negatively due to this difference in transit time between FCL and LCL Cargo..??


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8 comments on “Why is there a difference in transit time between FCL and LCL cargo to the same destination..??”

  1. By Semon Reply

    Ahoy Hariesh!

    Am I glad I stumbled upon your blog today or what! All the difficult terms and concepts I used to encounter on BLs are vanishing.

    Thank you, my good sir.


    • By Hariesh Manaadiar

      Hello Semon, welcome to the blog and glad to be of assistance.. Keep reading more, participate in the discussions, share your views and also subscribe to the blog so that you can receive all the future updates to your mailbox.. Pls also pass on the details of this blog to all like minded people.. 🙂

  2. By shetty Reply

    I am aware what FCL and LCL stands for but Why do Liner mention FCL/FCL
    or LCL/FCL on Bill of Lading ?

  3. By Kehkashan Mashal Zaffar Reply

    Hi Hariesh Manaadiar, thanks for the explanation .. its very helpful 🙂