Understanding the Difference between Consolidation and Less than Container Load Shipping


colorful shipping containers Shipping containers are large, particularly shipping containers that are going to be moved via shipping line overseas. So what happens when you need to ship goods overseas but do not have a full container load?

The Obvious (but Expensive) Option

The simplest thing to do is to pay for a full shipping container and have experts brace your cargo in the shipping container and distribute the load. This may be an option for you, depending on the sensitivity of your cargo.

The downside to this is that you are paying for empty and wasted space. Space on shipping vessels can be expensive. If you have a client who is buying your cargo and is willing to pay, you will not have to address this cost yourself. If that is not the case, you have other options.

Less than Container Load

You can have the shipping line handle this for you. In this case, your shipment is marked as Less than Container Load or LCL. When this happens, a shipping line with gather up all he LCL shipments they have and will combine them into one full container. Each person shipping will only be charged for the percentage of the cargo container that they are using.

The downside is that you are never really sure what your goods are going to be shipped with. Are you shipping sensitive electronics equipment that is moisture sensitive? It could end up sitting next to a shipment of poorly packed water bottles. This is a recipe for disaster. The danger can be mitigated by having your industrial packing done by experts who are familiar with the risks of shipping LCL and can pack your cargo to keep it safe.


Another option is to use a shipping consolidator. With this option you are employing a middle man to do the combining for you, instead of letting the shipping line choose where to pack your cargo. A freight or shipping consolidator will combine your packages with others and negotiate the shipping with the shipping line for shipping a full container.

While this is a more costly option, it can have advantages. Consolidators can be made aware of special cargo needs and ensure that packing is done appropriately. This can keep your cargo with other cargo that will not endanger it.

Another advantage is that some consolidation firms will offer door to door delivery. They will pick up your shipment for you and drop it off at its final destination, saving you the cost and time to do so yourself.

Remember, whatever option you choose, picking crating and packing experts like Cratex Group will help to ensure that your cargo arrives safe at its destination. Contact Cratex Group today with your industrial packing needs!