What is Cargo Consolidation?

What is Cargo Consolidation?
May 4, 2020 Aldo Flores
Shipping container, many filled through cargo consolidation, waiting at a port.

Cargo consolidation can be the right answer for transporting your freight when you don’t have a need for the expense of a full container. Also known as less-than-container-load or LCL shipping, your property is still shipped securely in a container, but other shippers’ property will be present in the container as well. This lets you split the total cost of shipping, offering a more cost effective way to ship smaller loads of freight.

A professional cargo consolidation service can be the right choice if you’re seeking to move your home, ship a single vehicle, or for business owners that need a reliable, efficient freight solution.

How Container Shipping Works

When you ship using a container, your property is loaded into a metal shipping container, the smallest of which is 20-feet long. Shipping companies charge a flat rate by the container, whether it’s half-full or packed. That puts it out of the price range for many shippers who need only a fraction of that space, but are shipping more than what local postal services will process.

Cargo consolidation helps small and mid-size shippers move their property at more manageable prices.

With less-than-container-load, the consolidator pays the shipper’s container fee, then consolidates goods from several sources into a single container for a price based on the space their goods will take up. The consolidator loads the container, then on the other side of the voyage, they or an agent acting for them will unload the container so the property can continue its journey to each shipper’s destination.

Cargo consolidation’s “middle-man” approach benefits both shippers who need containers to fill their ships and customers who need their goods moved but don’t have the funds or property to fill a container themselves.

Things To Consider With LCL Loads

When deciding whether this form of shipping is right for you, it’s important to understand a few factors that go into the shipping process.

  • It Adds Time To The Shipping Process — Unlike full-container shipping where you load and seal an entire container yourself before it is transported to the ship that will carry it, with Cargo consolidation your freight is first sent to the consolidator. At that point, they will load and seal the container with cargo allotted from several shippers. On the other side of the voyage, the container will be unloaded by the consolidator before it can be transported to the various destinations. This can add several extra days at the beginning and end of the process that you will need to account for.
  • Pricing Varies — With less-than-load containers, you’re paying for a portion of the entire container, but this can often be higher on a per item basis than if you were to fill a whole container with items. While more per item, the total cost often works out to less overall as you aren’t paying the large lump sum for the container. This can be a great way to ship single cars, household goods, or the freight for a growing business as it maximizes your shipping versatility while keeping costs manageable.
  • Increased Handling — While cargo consolidation is safe and secure for your goods, it does require the consolidator to load, seal and unload the container. This is in contrast to full-container shipping where you are the only one to touch your property from the time it is loaded and sealed for departure and unloaded on arrival. Only you can determine if you’re comfortable with the access the consolidator will have during the loading or unloading process.

Stacked containers, like those used for less-than-container-load shipping, waiting to be processed at a port.

Professional Shipping Services

As a bonded and insured Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC) and freight forwarder, we’re in a unique position to use our decades of experience to help you manage your freight shipments. Whether you need a full container or have a less-than-container-load of property, we offer competitive rates and service you can trust for efficient, on-time delivery. We’re proud to have built a reputation for helping our customers, old and new, navigate their shipping needs. Contact us for a cargo consolidation quote from Trans Global Auto Logistics today.

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