If you are procuring goods from China, you must be familiar with the term LCL (Less than container load) shipment. It is a cost-effective and efficient way to transport goods when you do not have enough cargo to fill an entire container. 

In LCL shipment, you share the container space with other shippers, and the shipping company charges you based on the volume or weight of your goods. Let us dive deeper into how this shipment works.

Easy loading/unloading

The first step in LCL shipment is to pack your goods in such a way that they can be easily loaded and unloaded from the container. You need to ensure that your goods are secured properly and are not damaged during transit. 

The shipping company provides guidelines on how to pack your goods, and you must adhere to them. The shipping company also arranges for the container and the transportation of your goods from your supplier’s location in China to the port.

Bill of lading

Once your goods arrive at the port, they are consolidated with other shipments that are also bound for the same destination. The shipping company arranges for the loading of the container, and your goods are placed in a designated area within the container. 

The shipping company will provide you with a Bill of Lading that confirms that your goods are on board the ship and have been loaded into the container.

Custom clearance

During transit, the container is subject to customs clearance at both the origin and destination ports. The shipping company will take care of the customs clearance formalities, and you will be informed of any charges that you need to pay. 

Once the container arrives at the destination port, it is unloaded, and your goods are separated from the other shipments. The shipping company will arrange for the transportation of your goods to your warehouse or any other location as per your instructions.


LCL shipment has several advantages over other shipping methods. 

  • First and foremost, it is cost-effective, especially if you do not have enough cargo to fill an entire container. You only pay for the space that your goods occupy in the container, which is much cheaper than renting an entire container. 
  • This shipment also allows you to ship smaller quantities of goods, which is beneficial if you have a limited budget or storage space.
  • This kind of shipment is flexible. You can ship goods on a regular basis without having to worry about the minimum cargo volume requirements. This means that you can order smaller quantities of goods more frequently, which can help you stay ahead of your competition. 
  • LCL type of shipment also allows you to ship goods to multiple destinations, which is useful if you have customers in different parts of the world.


However, this kind of shipment also has some drawbacks that you need to be aware of. 

  • Since your goods are consolidated with other shipments, there is a risk of damage or loss. You need to ensure that your goods are packed properly and are insured to cover any losses. 
  • LCL type of shipment also takes longer than other shipping methods, as the container needs to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. This can lead to delays in delivery and can affect your business operations.


LCL shipment is an efficient and cost-effective way to transport goods from China. It allows you to ship smaller quantities of goods and is flexible enough to accommodate your business needs. 

However, you should be aware that it also has certain disadvantages. If you are considering Less than container load shipment for your next procurement from China, make sure that you understand the risks and benefits and work with a reliable shipping company that can provide you with the necessary support and guidance.