Don’t be afraid to put your freight forwarding company under some scrutiny. Here are questions that you should not leave out when asking them anything you need answers for, as they help you narrow down which LCL freight forwarder is best for you.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an LCL specialist or one of the many LCL providers operating these days. These questions will guide you through putting together a first-class shipment.
Note: Make sure you use this list as advice only. Before making any decisions about using an LCL provider, do your research on each company and speak with someone who has experience dealing with LCL carriers.
Things to ask your LCL freight forwarder:
How many LCL ships do they use, and how big are they?
Be sure to know precisely how many LCL vessels the company uses for its services. If they’re only using one or two, they will likely be flying at much higher costs than a company with multiple vessels running in different areas. Larger scale ships allow the companies to offer lower prices without sacrificing any service.
How much LCL experience do you have?
The answer to this question is critical as the more LCL experience a forwarder has, the more likely they are to know what they’re doing and be able to advise you on how to pack your shipment efficiently, which containers go where, and also other aspects such as customs information.
There are always exceptions to these rules, but the more experienced an LCL container shipping company is, the better it will be for you as a general rule of thumb.
Do you provide LCL door-to-door services?
One of the best things about LCL door-to-door services is that you get to save money by being able to drop your LCL off at any location. It also means that you have highly flexible shipping service, as almost anything can be loaded on board, which is why it’s advised not to ship anything fragile without having LCL door-to-door container shipping.
Note: You may need to clear your LCL in some cases, but most forwarders are willing to help if needed.
What types of TEU do you offer?
It isn’t a question for every LCL freight forwarder, but it’s one to ask if they do provide LCL TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit). Containers come in a wide range of different sizes, and the size you pick will depend on what you’re shipping and how much space you have available at your LCL destination. Carriers that offer it may even give out free LCL TEU with a container shipping deal, which should be taken advantage of.
How can I track my container?
It is one of the most critical questions when asking any shipping company, as it should give you peace of mind throughout your shipment to know that you can easily track it on their site. Suppose the company doesn’t provide tracking on their website. In that case, you should consider using a different forwarder as it makes managing your shipment and knowing where it is challenging.
Can I book my shipment online?
Most forwarders have an online service to make the whole process much easier for you, making it possible to book LCL container transport this way. Inquiring about the website can save you time and money and simplify the booking process for both parties.
How much can I fit into an LCL shipping container?
It is challenging to say how much you will put in an LCL shipping container since it varies depending on several factors. To give you some idea, however, there are 60 cubic feet of storage space inside a 20-foot long container, which equals about 27 cubic meters.
Factor in the 30 cubic feet of storage space inside a 40-foot long container – which equals around 18 cubic meters and LCL shipping containers can carry an awful lot!