Logistic services

What are FCL containers?

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When contracting maritime cargo transport from anywhere in the world, one of the most frequent options for transporting merchandise is < b>choose FCL containers.

Why should we choose this option? Well, under certain conditions, choosing this type of cargo can save us a lot of money when shipping our goods to or from Paraguay.

First of all, we must remember that containers are the most used cargo storage and transportation elements in international merchandise trade.

Since the first container ship sailed in April 1956 from New York to Houston, the shipping industry has undergone a rapid transformation to massively adopt the use of these elements.

In fact, today it would be practically unfeasible from a logistical and economic point of view to transport cargo from one place to another in the world safely and making the most of the ships’ cargo space.

There are currently ISO standards that establish the sizes and types of containers that must be used in global transport. In the case of goods, the use of full containers is very common due to their numerous advantages.

What is an FCL container?

This type of container gets its name from the English term “Full Container Load“, which translates into Spanish as “full container load”.

When loading a container for maritime transport, the person responsible has two options, full load or consolidated load.

Goods belonging to several customers are placed in a shared cargo container, which can go to the same or nearby destinations.

The consolidated or grouped cargo container will be opened in different ports to collect the merchandise corresponding to the delivery or to collect new cargo. You will continue your journey until you reach the last delivery port.

In turn, the FCL container is loaded with the goods of a single customer or company and transported completely sealed to the delivery port.

Characteristics of FCL containers

The configuration, handling and sealing of FCL containers are carried out in accordance with strict international standards. This regulation determines the following particularities:

  • An FCL container is sealed once the loading task is completed and can only be opened by the recipient at the end of the journey.
  • The shipper must be responsible for the process of loading the FCL container and sealing it.
  • The carrier of an FCL container is responsible for the route that will be used to ship it to the destination requested by the customer.
  • The consignee or consignee of the FCL container is responsible for the entire unloading process.
  • In turn, the exporter and importer must respond when it comes to customs problems. The carrier will not be responsible in this type of situation.
  • FCL containers are considered very safe from a legal point of view, as they are sealed based on strict international standards, which facilitates cargo tracking in the event of theft and the detection of unauthorized cargo in the containers. Furthermore, international law protects the sealed FCL container from intermediate customs inspections as it passes through third countries.
  • Another particular feature of FCL containers is that a fixed fee is applied for their transportation, regardless of whether they are completely full or only partially full before sealing.

When should you use FCL containers?

There are several reasons why it is advisable to choose an FCL container to ship your cargo to Paraguay.

One of the most important is that its transportation is faster and easier, as it will not be opened several times during transit.

Furthermore, they require simpler customs procedures and enjoy greater legal protection. This is a big advantage in cases where the vessel transport must pass through third countries.

However, before making a decision in favor of using FCL containers, four basic aspects must be analyzed, such as:

  • Volume of goods. The quantity of cargo to be exported or imported is the most important factor when deciding whether or not to hire an FCL container.
  • In general, the FCL container is more economical for moving loads that exceed 10 pallets or that have a volume greater than 14 cubic meters.
  • Load security. If you need to transport goods that are sensitive to changes in temperature or movement, an FCL container is the best option to transport them.
  • In this case, the risk of cargo contamination through contact with products from other exporters is reduced to almost zero.
  • Shipping cost. Even if it is not fully loaded, shipping an FCL container internationally will be cheaper as you pay a flat rate.
  • However, this is not always true. Therefore, it is more convenient to rent the complete container for goods exceeding 13 cubic meters.
  • Urgency. If the delivery time of the goods is very tight or delivery is required on a certain date, it is more convenient to use an FCL container.

As we said previously, these shipments are not subject to intermediate inspections and there is no need to wait for long closure periods, as is the case with the grouping of consolidated cargo.

Alfa Trading helps you organize your FCL container shipment

If you need to send goods from Paraguay to other parts of the world or import your cargo from distant ports, count on the support of Alfa Trading to organize your logistics with FCL containers.

Alfa Trading is one of the companies with the most experience in international logistics in Paraguay and we have cargo agents in the main ports around the world.

We are ready to support you in the configuration and implementation of your import and/or export projects in Paraguay, using FCL or consolidated cargo in any modality.