Shipping A Full Container Load (FCL)

Shipping A Full Container Load (FCL)

There are primarily three sizes of containers to consider when shipping your household goods as an FCL (Full Container Load): 20’ Standard (STD), 40’ Standard (STD), and 40’ High Cube (HC). The standard sizes have identical width and height dimensions and are differentiated by their length. The 40’High Cube has the same width and length of the 40’STD but has an additional foot of height. The 20’STD holds a maximum volume of 1,172 cubic feet, the 40’STD holds a maximum volume of 2,390 cubic feet, and the 40’HC holds a maximum volume of 2,694 CFT.


One of the biggest advantages to shipping your goods as an FCL is the exclusivity that this shipping method offers. In a Less then Container Load (LCL) shipment, your shipment will be consolidated with other smaller shipments (and not necessarily Household Goods shipments) in order to make up a full container. With an FCL, your shipment will be the ONLY cargo in the container. FCL shipments also offer a higher level of security and a decreased chance of damage as there is less handling of your shipment.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to loading your household goods into a container: loading at residence and loading at a warehouse.

Like a majority of shippers, the “loading at residence” option instantly jumps out as the more appealing option. With this method, you are able to see your household goods loaded into the container and watch the seal be placed on it before it returns back to the port. While this is a valid point, it leaves out many other important factors and potential extra costs. First and foremost, this practice is actively discouraged by a majority of the major ship lines. They will have stipulations in their contract rates that Household Goods shipments from Door (residence) are not allowed.

Second, many of the trucking companies that have authorization to pull containers from a port will not deliver them to a residence due to insurance restrictions. Also, most residential loads are “live loads” as there is no space to “drop” and leave the container. Depending on the trucker, they will allow 1-2 hours of “free time” to load the container before charging hourly detention charges for waiting. Furthermore, if a loading team will have to wait an extended period of time for a trucker to arrive with the container, they will have extra charges for the wasted time. Therefore, the loading hinges on seamless coordination between the loading party and trucker with zero tolerance for unexpected events like: traffic delays, port congestion creating delays in pulling the container at port, mechanical breakdown, flat tire, etc. The list could go on and on, and the ramifications of even a minor glitch could increase the costs of your move.

Loading at a warehouse actually turns out to be a much safer and smarter option. On the day of your move, a pick up team will arrive with a truck at a designated time, have the ability to carefully pick up your shipment without being “under the gun” to load within an hour or two, and leave when the job is complete. There is no wait time or coordination with multiple parties. Your household goods will then be transported back to a warehouse and unloaded from the truck.

When it is time to load your shipment into the container, the trucker will bring the container from the port to the warehouse and drop the container at the warehouse’s loading dock. The loading team at the warehouse can take additional time to carefully load your shipment, block and brace, and secure your shipment in the container. When the loading team at the warehouse is finished, your international movers will close the container and place a seal on it.

The trucker will then be able to come to the warehouse, pick up the loaded container, and deliver it back to port. This loading method has an extra step of handling, but it allows for greater control of the handling of the cargo and greater allowance to handle unforeseen circumstances without creating additional costs to you.

Source by John Jo

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