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Freight from the USA

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LCL means shipping from the USA goods in boxes, crates, and pallets

In respect of international cargo transportation from the USA overseas, LCL is an abbreviation for "Less than Container Load." LCL freight is designed for shipping from the U.S. goods packed in boxes, crates, or stacked on pallets. It is a low-cost solution for delivering cargo from the U.S. that cannot fill an entire 20- or 40-foot sea freight container.

Unlike FCL freightwith LCL, international shippers share space in 40-foot sea freight containers. With LCL, shippers do not need to pick up containers from container yards and load and secure cargo in containers. They are not obligated to pay for the international transportation of entire containers but for the space used in containers only. Upon arrival, containers at destinations, consignees (cargo recipients) do not need to return empty containers to the container yards.

pallet in ocean freight

It doesn't matter whether you ship commercial cargo from the U.S., deliver personal belongings, or move overseas. If the goods are appropriately packed in boxes or crates and the overall volume does not exceed 15-20 cubic meters, then there are many advantages to using LCL freight instead of shipping entire containers.

With LCL, you can ship a relatively large cargo, significantly reducing the cost of transportation:

It is flexible:


Restrictions in shipping LCL freight from the USA

No foodstuff, wine & drugs: Shipping foodstuffs from the USA overseas, including wine and pills, perishable food items, edible animal byproducts, supplements, etc., are subject to detailed regulations. Violations of these regulations can result in detention, confiscation, or destruction of cargo, fines, and civil or criminal charges.

Other restricted commodities in LCL shipping from the U.S. overseas: To make it easier, avoid sending items that are prohibited for shipping from the U.S. overseas at your local USPS post office. Otherwise, it may result in problems at the origin or destination, extra expenses, penalties, or even legal or criminal charges. At the time of packing your goods for international transportation, you should stay away from shipping the following commodities:

Commodities that are subject to special U.S. export regulation:


Motor vehicles or parts with VIN cannot be shipped with LCL. Shipping motor parts without VIN are allowed.

Any motorized vehicles requiring DMV (U.S. Department of Motor Vehicles) registration, such as automobiles, motorcycles, mopeds, jet skis, ATVs, etc., are not permitted to ship from the USA LCL. This is because U.S. customs does not recognize any ocean freight carrier's warehouse (CFS) as an exam site for the inspection of motor vehicles.

No cars in LCL sea freight international shipping

However, you can ship from the U.S. LCL vehicles that do not require DMV registration, such as mini-helicopters, snowmobiles, golf vehicles, self-propelled wheelchairs, specialized construction, and special mobile vehicles. International shippers should always check with the U.S. DMV before preparing to ship from the U.S. abroad vehicle, regardless of the mode of transport.
Shipping from the U.S. motor parts LCL is permitted unless a part requires a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number on it). The typical exception is exporting used tires.
Please keep in mind that if you ship from the U.S. any parts containing fluids (a motor engine, for example), they should be completely drained. Large and heavy parts should be crated or securely attached to the pallets.

Reading LCL freight rates.

LCL freight rates can be all-inclusive (all-in) or subject to surcharges. Surcharges on rates can be either a percentage of the freight rate or a lump sum added to it. These surcharges can take various forms, such as fuel surcharges, bill of lading fees, palletizing fees, overlength surcharges, dangerous goods surcharges, etc.

Surcharges in freight

Please do not confuse the total shipping cost in freight forwarders' invoices with the freight cost from an ocean freight carrier.

Above is an example of a breakdown of carrier freight costs. Below is an example of a freight forwarder invoice, which includes the carrier's freight cost and displays a service fee.

The bill of lading you received from a freight forwarder is not an invoice. The freight charges have already been paid on your behalf. The carrier's freight breakdown on the bill of lading is provided for reference only.

According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, ...An Ocean freight forwarder is an individual or company that dispatches shipments from the United States via common carriers and books or otherwise arranges space for those shipments on behalf of shippers. Ocean freight forwarders also prepare and process the documentation and perform related activities pertaining to those shipments... Ocean freight forwarders work on customer service fees, which must be itemized on quotes and invoices.

Freight forwarder fee

Please note that the destination charges are not included in either ocean freight or freight forwarders' invoices. Destination charges (sometimes called local charges) occur at the destinations. Therefore, they are not considered freight charges.


Avoiding common mistakes in shipping LCL

We have published a separate page, written for inexperienced exporters, with the web link at the very top of each page of our website. Please read it. After the reading, you should be much better prepared for international cargo transportation from the U.S., no matter which company you choose for the shipping. Below is just a part of the explanation.

A. Do not confuse a parcel service with international cargo transportation LCL.

LCL freight is designed for shipping from the USA abroad, a relatively sizable cargo. Do not confuse this international shipping service with parcel services, such as USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. LCL freight always requires paying a minimum shipping cost, which is typically equal to shipping cargo of a volume of one cubic meter

LCL freight, the same as any other international cargo transportation service, is always subject to destination charges.

If you ship overseas a small cargo, less than 0.25-0.3 cubic meters of the total volume, then using an international parcel service may be more cost-effective.


B. Do not confuse LCL freight with international moving companies

Yes, you can, most of the time, ship household goods or personal belongings from the U.S. overseas with LCL. However, do not confuse LCL freight with international moving companies.

With LCL, all your shipping items must be properly boxed, crated, and labeled.

Suppose you are moving from the United States overseas. In that case, you may consider services from international moving companies, where an international moving company assessor should visit you and estimate the cost of shipping your household goods, including packing and moving your goods to an ocean freight carrier. Certain international moving companies may offer you an "all-in" service, including support in recovering your shipping household goods and the delivery to "your door" at the destination. Then, always clarify with the international moving company whether all charges related to their service overseas are included in the shipping cost or not. You may consider

However, prices from international moving companies are high. Then, you may need to search for an alternative. The alternative is shipping household goods from the USA overseas with LCL freight.


C. Shippers' responsibilities in shipping commodities and documents

When shipping goods from the U.S. abroad, the shipper should understand that they are responsible for cargo description, the legality of the commodity, and the sufficiency of shipping documents submitted for international shipping.

The ocean freight carrier's bill of lading in international shipping, which is the "title on shipping goods," as a rule, states 'Shipper load and count' and 'Said by the shipper to contain.' That means the ocean freight carrier and the freight forwarder are NOT responsible for the shipper's information on their commodity exporting from the USA.

An international ocean freight forwarder should guide the shipper in the complexity of international shipment procedures. However, the shippers are solely responsible for providing all necessary shipping documents related to their international shipping.


D. Storage/demurrage at destinations

Several days before the arrival of your shipping goods at the destination, your consignee (recipient) should receive a notification from the ocean freight carrier's destination agent in the form of an arrival notice. Typically, it will be emailed to the consignee. That's why providing a valid email to your bill of lading is essential. Also, they may give a phone call to the consignee. Ensure that the consignee's contact information initially provided in your booking request and transferred to your bill of lading is correct and valid.

The arrival notice should be in an official format and contain an invoice with destination (local) charges breakdown.

As soon as you receive an arrival notice, act promptly. Your free storage time at a destination warehouse (CFS) is limited. Depending on CFS, it varies between 7 to 14 days. After that, storage/demurrage will begin accumulating. It will apply to destination charges and may increase the total destination charges dramatically.

The ocean freight carrier's destination agent should guide the consignee in the complexity of import recovery. However, if, for any reason, the consignee experiences difficulties with their import recovery at the destination, the first they should do is search for a customs broker licensed in the destination country. 

Freight rates calculator online

Statistics on LCL shipping from the USA by AMID Logistics

Sometimes, new customers ask, "What country are you shipping to?".

We serve all the countries listed under destinations in our online freight calculator. Here is the most recent statistic by serving countries at 100% of all shipping volume.

Country %
Saudi Arabia 9.05
United Kingdom 6.43
Australia 5.28
Germany 4.61
Singapore 4.25
Italy 3.81
France 3.77
United Arab Emirates 2.14
Netherlands 1.83
Norway 1.83
Spain 1.79
China 1.71
Thailand 1.67
Switzerland 1.63
Sweden 1.63
India 1.51
Japan 1.43
Malaysia 1.35
Sri Lanka 1.35
Czech Republic 1.31
New Zealand 1.23
Ireland 1.23
Israel 1.15
Belgium 1.11
Pakistan 1.11
Kuwait 0.99
South Africa 0.99
Puerto Rico 0.95
Morocco 0.91
Taiwan 0.91
Egypt 0.87
Philippines 0.87
Portugal 0.87
Cambodia 0.83
South Korea 0.79
Austria 0.79
Qatar 0.79
Turkey 0.79
Denmark 0.79
Bulgaria 0.71
Romania 0.71
Peru 0.68
Panama 0.68
Brazil 0.64
Indonesia 0.64
Kenya 0.64
Jordan 0.6
Hungary 0.56
El Salvador 0.56
Poland 0.52
Costa Rica 0.52
Paraguay 0.52
Bahrain 0.48
Fiji 0.48
Serbia 0.48
St. Lucia 0.48
Uganda 0.44
Oman 0.44
Finland 0.4
Jamaica 0.4
Croatia 0.4
Greece 0.4
Bangladesh 0.4
Colombia 0.4
Lithuania 0.36
US Virgin Islands 0.36
Guyana 0.36
Iceland 0.32
Lebanon 0.32
Slovakia 0.32
Dominican Republic 0.32
Tanzania 0.32
Estonia 0.28
Malta 0.28
Honduras 0.28
Botswana 0.28
Slovenia 0.28
Vietnam 0.24
Scotland 0.24
Barbados W.I. 0.24
Algeria 0.24
Mauritius 0.24
Western Samoa 0.24
Latvia 0.24
Venezuela 0.24
Ghana 0.24
Martinique 0.2
Cameroon 0.2
Cyprus 0.2
Nigeria 0.2
Luxemburg 0.2
Chile 0.2
Sierra Leone 0.16
Mozambique 0.16
Papua New Guinea 0.16
Guatemala 0.12
Cayman Islands 0.12
Guadeloupe 0.12
Bolivia 0.12
Ecuador 0.12
Belize 0.12
Myanmar 0.12
Tunisia 0.12
French Polynesia 0.12
Trinidad 0.12
Senegal 0.08
Tonga 0.08
Togo 0.08
Haiti 0.08
St. Maarten 0.08
Grenada 0.08
Ivory Coast 0.08
Djibouti 0.08
Belarus 0.04
Georgia (republic) 0.04
British Virgin Islands 0.04
Suriname 0.04
Brunei 0.04
Guinea 0.04
Yemen 0.04
Cook Islands 0.04
Zambia 0.04

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