Less-than-Container Load (LCL) Shipping

Ship boxes and pallets as per your need.

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Book LCL at competitive rates

Do you want to ship boxes and pallets? With Maersk, you can book your Less-than-Container Load online with a few clicks.
For your ease book now at competitive rates.

What is LCL shipment?

Is your shipment too small to fill up a whole container? LCL shipping allows you to share a container which is consolidated with other cargo. This allows you to ensure your small shipment can be on the move when you need it.

Less-than-Container Load enables the use of palletized boxes and crates or small package boxes to ensure on-time shipment of your cargo. It helps you accommodate fluctuating demand and find shipping availability even during busy periods.

A woman looking at her laptop in a warehouse containing small boxes.

Why choose LCL shipping?

LCL shipping gives you flexibility and the ability to react to ever-changing demands, especially if you need to move small shipments often. With LCL you can ship your small boxes and pallets per your needs instead of waiting to fill a full container with your cargo.

By choosing LCL, you only pay for the space your cargo is occupying in the container. You share the space with others as well as the costs. It is cheaper than air freight and it allows you to ship less goods more frequently while spending less money on inventorying and warehousing space.

A woman in a warehouse typing on a laptop with boxes and pallets in the background.

What is the difference between LCL and FCL?

There are two main shipping modes when choosing how to ship your cargo via ocean – Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) shipping. Here, we have a simple comparison explaining the meaning of FCL and LCL.

  • With FCL shipping, you pay for the whole container, and there will only be one shipper. This means there is also little handling since your FCL shipment does not need to be de-consolidated at the end of the journey and will be sealed right after loading.
  • LCL shipping, on the contrary, lets you share a container with other shippers and thus consolidate a container that wouldn’t be full otherwise. Shipping boxes and pallets allows for a more flexible delivery based on your actual needs, as even the smallest cargo can have a big impact on your business.
Side view of a worker in a forklift truck consolidating LCL cargo in boxes.

When to use LCL?

If you want to ship small boxes or pallets that fit into 20 feet or 40 feet containers, and do not have enough cargo to fill up a whole container, LCL shipping is the right solution for you. It works perfectly for stackable cargo, but we can also ship your boxes and pallets if they are non-stackable.

LCL shipment is ideal for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who may not have sufficient cargo to fill a full container. It also works for large and medium enterprises (LMEs) who are facing varying demands or want to test out new markets. Typically, industries like fashion, lifestyle, automotive, technology and FMCG can benefit greatly from LCL shipping.

A couple of employees discussing in a warehouse with small boxes in the background.

How does LCL shipping work?

Our LCL shipping services are designed for you, and we take care of your cargo from start to finish.

With Maersk, you can easily book your LCL shipment online. Simply log in to the Maersk LCL platform and fill out relevant information about your cargo in a few steps. You’ll get an instant price and a booking confirmation within 4 hours. After this, you can either drop your boxes (or pallets) at our warehouse or we can pick it up directly from your warehouse.

Your cargo will then be grouped with others, loaded, and sealed at a Container Freight Station, and it will leave for your destination on a ship after having gone through customs clearance. If you wish, our customs experts can also take care of the Customs Clearance.

Upon arrival, the container is unloaded, and your boxes (or pallets) are delivered either directly to you or to our warehouse for you to pick up.

A woman worker handling a LCL cargo in a warehouse.

How much does LCL shipping cost?

The cost of LCL shipping depends on a few different factors, the main ones being the volume of space that your cargo will occupy within the container and its weight and the shipping route. Volume is calculated in cubic meters (CBM) and weight in kilograms. At Maersk, maximum for a single package is 3,000 kg and 29 CBM and the maximum limit per booking is 20,000 kg and 60 CBM.

When you book LCL via our digital platform, you have complete transparency on speed, options and costs. You’ll also get an instant price and a booking confirmation within 4 hours.

A couple of workers in a consolidation warehouse discussing LCL freight (Indian guy & girl) has context menu

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Should you have any immediate questions regarding LCL, please refer to our customer FAQs. For further queries, just contact us – we are happy to help.

Contact our LCL experts


Contact us

We're happy to talk to you about your LCL needs at anytime. Please feel free to contact us.