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Freight from the USA

Shipping Loose Items in LCL | Palletizing in Ocean freightChargeable (Gross) Volume | Shipping Cargo in Crates | Mixed Cargo


Calculate how many shipping boxes you can stuff into One Cubic Meter. Use this Int'l Freight Calculator.

If you are a first-time international shipper and shipping freight from the USA overseas using LCL sea freight service, then to avoid possible confusion on final shipping cost, depending on packing shipping cargo, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND READING THIS ARTICLE before you will proceed with shipping cargo from the USA by sea. This web page mostly related to shipping from USA boxes, crates, and pallets using international LCL sea freight shipping service.

LCL is an abbreviation commonly used in the shipping freight from USA industry to nominate Less than Container Load ocean freight service. LCL means shipping from USA boxes, crates and pallets consolidated in 40' multimodal container with other shipping cargo.

Shipping freight from the USA by utilizing LCL sea freight service is appropriate for:

  • Shipping cargo in boxes or smaller items covered by cardboard.
  • Shipping cargo on pallets different sizes. (the size of standard U.S. pallet is 40"x48").
  • Shipping cargo in different types and sizes of crates that fits into a 40’ multimodal sea freight container.
  • Shipping mixed cargo that is subtle for the international shipping from the USA using LCL sea freight service.

Shipping freight by LCL is the most economical way to ship cargo from the USA overseas. The only limitation is: Shipping cargo must be properly packed and fit into 40' container.



If you are using loose shipping boxes on shipping freight from the USA overseas, then you may use regular cardboard moving boxes of different sizes. For extra protection, we may recommend heavy-duty cardboard shipping boxes. Cardboard shipping boxes can be purchased at any local store, from domestic moving companies or ordered online. Shipping loose boxes from the USA overseas has advantages and disadvantages.


international shipping of boxes in LCL sea freight


ADVANTAGE: Shipping cargo in loose boxes is the cheapest way to ship LCL sea freight from the USA. That is because the total ocean freight rate will be calculated based on the summarized volume of single shipping boxes in cubic meters (or cubic feet).
DISADVANTAGES: Shipping a number of small loose boxes by LCL is NOT the best and safe way of shipping cargo from the USA overseas.

If you ship boxes from the USA lose, then each single shipping box or smaller shipping unit will be loaded and off-loaded into/from an ocean freight container with hands. It can be easily damaged during the handling. Loose shipping boxes can be separated in warehouses and/or in the ocean freight containers. Then shipping cargo consisting of loose boxes can be partially lost or miss-routed during the shipping from the USA. Loose shipping boxes can also be easily stolen.

IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER!: If your shipping cargo contains up to 3-5 loose shipping boxes, then you may ask to ship it lose. However, if you are shipping from the USA a number of shipping boxes OR any shipped box or shipping unit exceed 100 lbs (i.e., shipping freight terminal must use forklifts in the handling), then the shipping freight terminal (CFS) may decline to ship it lose. They will require to palletize your loose shipping boxes anyway, no matter either you did or did not request to palletize your cargo.



The dimension of standard U.S. pallet used on shipping freight from USA (also known as a 'skid') is 48"(1.2m) x 40"(1.0m) x 6"(0.15m). If you request an ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS) to palletize your shipping boxes, then the boxes will be stacked by the CFS on pallets. Each pallet will carry as many shipping boxes as it can fit. It is not recommended to exceed the height of skid more than 60" (1.52m). The height of skids depends on the strength of shipping boxes, the weight, and sizes. Then the entire skid should be shrink wrapped and secured by a plastic film. Shipping cargo from the USA by LCL allows using a variety of types of pallets of different sizes and forms. Most important is that forklifts will be able to handle the pallets/skids. I.e., bases of shipping pallets should be accessible for pallet-jacks with the minimum clearance of 3.5". All skids prepared to the shipping from the USA must fit into a 40' multimodal ocean freight container.

When you palletize your cargo to the international shipping, they always pay attention to wood packing restrictions (ISPM15 rule) on international shipping cargo from the USA overseas.


international shipping of pallets in ocean freight


ADVANTAGES: There are many advantages to shipping palletized and shrink-wrapped cargo. Palletized cargo has a much higher probability to reach destinations without damages or losses. Forklifts will safely handle palletized cargo. Being palletized all shipping boxes are securely kept together. Then a partial loss probability is insignificantly small. Palletized ocean freight is much better protected from potential theft on any stage of the transportation from the USA to the destination country as well.

Note that if you self-deliver your loose cardboard shipping boxes to an ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), then most of the time the CFS will properly palletize and shrink wrap your shipping boxes to the shipping from the USA for the fee $35-50 per pallet, including cost of certified pallet provided by CFS. Use the opportunity. Do not palletize shipping boxes by yourself. Deliver light shipping boxes to CFS and leave the palletizing to professionals. Besides, that loose shipping boxes are much easy to handle, most important that you will transfer responsibilities on ISPM 15 compliance to the CFS. Then you shipping boxes should not face any problems related to ISPM 15 during the shipping from the USA.

As U.S. Freight Forwarder, AMID Logistics always recommends palletizing loose shipping boxes to the international shipping from the USA overseas.

DISADVANTAGES: Additional charges that occur due to palletizing of shipping boxes and other smaller shipping items before the shipping from the USA:

  1. Cost of the pallet(s) and labor;
  2. Increasing of chargeable volume on palletized cargo.



To avoid "unpleasant surprises" in final invoices on your palletized cargo, you should clearly understand that:
1. Ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS) will charge a fee to properly palletize and shrink-wrap your boxes. Typically the fee varies from $35 to $50 per pallet. The fee includes a cost of the pallet. If you ship a lot of boxes, then CFS may charge for the labor hourly. The palletizing cost does not include in quotes. It will be determined upon completing of palletizing, billed to us and added to your final invoice. Note that we never markup the charge. You should see the breakdown of the charges in rated carrier's bill of lading.
2. Regardless of sizes of your shipping boxes, the overall chargeable (gross) volume will always be calculated by LONGEST, WIDEST AND HIGHEST DIMENSIONS OF YOUR SKID. See the pictures to see how it works:
palletizing in LCL international shipping


For example: a skid with greatest dimensions 40 x 50 x 50 inch, in shipping freight from the USA by LCL, is equal to shipping of 1.65 gross cubic meters (or 58 gross cubic feet).

People ask: How much does it cost to palletize my boxes? How can I pay?

The answer is: A CFS should properly palletize and shrink wrap your shipping boxes. Typically CFS's fee is $35-50 per pallet. Depending on a CFS. The fee includes cost of certified pallet provided by CFS. Keep in mind that if you palletize a large amount of shipping boxes, then the CFS may charge you for the labor hourly.

The size of standard U.S. pallet is 40x48x6 in inches. It is recommended not to exceed the height of pallet more than 60 inches. Otherwise, it becomes unstable. Then a single pallet most likely will not exceed 2 cubic meters.
When you roughly estimate a number of pallets needed for your international shipment, then calculate a total volume of your shipping goods in our online freight calculator, add 10-30% to the volume, and divide it by 2 cubic meters. However, actual sizes of pallets will depend on sizes and shapes of your shipping units.
The palletizing cost will be added to your final invoice. Unless your boxes are actually palletized, no one can predict the number and sizes of your pallets.
Note that we never markup the palletizing cost. The palletizing charges will be included in ocean carrier rated bill of lading's freight charges break down.


  • Wooding packing restrictions (ISPM15 rule in international shipping from the USA): When palletizing your cargo to the shipping from the USA using wooden pallets, always keep in mind wood packing restrictions in international freight shipping. You may find more about wood packing restrictions on shipping cargo from the USA overseas in this link.     
  • Addressing and Labeling: Before palletizing your loose boxes, we recommend to label all individual shipping boxes to the skid(s) whenever it possible. Remove or erase old labels (if any). It will help to recognize your shipping boxes in case if your skid is broken during the transportation from the USA to the destination country.  
    After you have palletized your cargo, label two sides of each skid, include in the labels your consigner and consignee's contact info and (THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT!) YOUR OCEAN FREIGHT CARRIER'S BOOKING NUMBER. With AMID Logistics you will receive a web link to print your shipping labels.

    DO NOT WRITE on your shipping boxes or pallets anything about commodity inside of your shipping units. You will provide commodity description it in your international shipping documents: commercial invoices or valued packing lists, which will be submitted to the ocean freight carrier assigned on shipping your cargo from the USA overseas.
  • Size and Weight: In shipping cargo from USA with LCL, shipping pallets should not exceed 2,200 lbs by weight, 70" in height, 119" in length and 80" in width. Otherwise, such shipping pallets require prior approval from international Ocean freight carrier assigned on your shipment. 
  • Safety on loading and stacking shipping boxes into skids: At a time of palletizing loose shipping boxes for international transportation from the USA it is recommended to:

    (1) Distribute weight evenly. Stack shipping boxes squarely corner-to-corner to the skid's edge to maximize compression strength but do not allow shipping boxes to hang over the skid.
    (2) Keep the top of the skid flat to minimize loss or damage to cartons; do not pyramid-stack.
    (3) Place angled fiberboard (angle board) between shipping boxes to prevent crushing. 
    (4) Cover by a plastic film the top of skids to protect your shipping boxes from weather damage during the transportation from the USA overseas.
  • Securing of skids: Wrap skids in 70-gauge stretch wrap. Pass at least two bands (tightly secured) through the skid voids and around all cartons. If possible use steel, rayon, polypropylene, nylon or polyester strapping to band shipping boxes. Use shock-absorber connections or cushioned skids, if applicable, when bolting.


Crating cargo for international shipping from the USA overseas can be quite expensive. However, in certain circumstances, crating of shipping cargo is absolutely necessary.


Shippung International LCL. Smaller Crate.


Crating of shipping cargo would be necessary if you ship valuable and/or fragile goods, something like assembled furniture, considerable large but fragile items or certain kind of irregular and fragile goods that require extra protection in transportation from the USA overseas. Regular or custom-made solid crates can be purchased from packing companies or ordered online.

You may also hire a professional packing company to crate your shipping goods to the international shipping from the USA. As a U.S. Freight Forwarder, we suggest you always asking your packing company if they are familiar with regulations in international cargo transportation. Particularly with wood packing restrictions.

Note that crates constructed for the shipping from the USA by the sea with LCL, same as pallets, must be forkliftable and fit into 40' multimodal ocean freight containers.


International Shipping. Custom built crate.




Depending on what you are shipping, sometimes it is a good idea to ship freight in different types of shipping units. That means that you can palletize and shrink-wrap smaller shipping boxes, crate most valuable or fragile items and leave oversized items loose. This approach can give you peace of mind on the safety of your shipped goods and save on gross chargeable volume in your international ocean freight shipment using LCL service.   

Shipping Loose Items in LCL | Palletizing in ocean freightChargeable (Gross) Volume | Shipping Cargo in Crates | Mixed Cargo

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