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How To Choose the Right LCL Shipping Partner

So, you’ve decided that LCL shipping makes sense for your business and now you want to get an LCL quote to find out how much it’s going to cost you to ship your products as part of a consolidated container. But, how do you know which LCL shipping companies to approach to get this quote? After all, you don’t want to waste your time getting quotes from companies that don’t offer the right services for your needs. Here’s how to choose the right LCL shipping partner.

Large Network

One of the main reasons international trade companies are choosing to use LCL shipping is because they don’t want to wait to ship their goods until they have a full shipping container. They want to be able to ship their items right away. But, if the LCL company doesn’t have a large enough network of shippers, you’re going to be waiting for that container to fill up anyway. You definitely don’t want your products sitting in a shipping container for weeks while the LCL provider tries to find enough goods to fill the container.

LCL providers that operate out of major ports shouldn’t have much of a problem filling their containers, but if you have to ship from a smaller port, this could be an issue. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure your LCL provider can guarantee that your container will ship on a specific date and that you won’t pay more if there is space left in the container.

Cargo Handling

When you’re loading your own container, you know exactly how the cargo is handled, but when your shipment is part of an LCL load, you have to trust your LCL partner to handle your products with care. Find out how your products will be packaged on a pallet and loaded onto the container so that you can assess their cargo handling procedures. You may even want to choose an LCL partner that offers remote container monitoring and tracking capabilities so you know where your container is and when it is accessed at any given point during its journey. This can help keep your cargo safe and secure until it’s at its final destination.

Transparent Quote Process

You probably operate your business on a tight budget, so knowing exactly what you’ll pay for your LCL shipments is critical to your business finances. Your LCL shipping partner should provide you with clear, unambiguous pricing for your loads. In fact, you may even want to select a company that allows you to calculate your own rates using a tool that provides accurate pricing based on the volume and weight of your products. All fees should be included in the final price so that you don’t get a surprise at the end of the line when your price is much more than you thought it would be.

Fees that should be disclosed in the LCL quote process include customs fees, warehouse fees, handling fees, and hosting fees. Not every destination will require all fees, so you’ll also want to make sure you’re only paying for the fees that are mandatory. Of course, your LCL company will probably have some fees as well, but as long as they’re clearly disclosed on your quote, you can decide whether you want to choose that shipper or not.

Insurance Offerings 

Unlike in an FCL situation, you don’t have control over what other products are shipped in a consolidated container with your products. This can result in damage to your goods, especially if they’re being shipped with dangerous items. Your LCL shipping partner should offer insurance for your cargo, especially if the container will be unloaded at several points along the journey before it gets to your port. It is rare for shipments to go missing, but it does happen and you want the peace of mind in knowing you have insurance in case this scenario comes to pass.

While insurance will most likely be optional with any LCL company that offers it, a company that doesn’t offer it at all is putting out a huge red flag. They should want you to feel comfortable shipping your products with their services and insurance is a big part of that. Whether or not you actually purchase insurance is up to you, but it should be available.

Conclusion

LCL shipping is a fantastic way to optimize your supply chain, but you need the right partner to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Use these tips to help you narrow down your options before you get a quote.

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