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Less than Container Load (LCL)
LCL is an ocean shipping term; an abbreviation of Less than Container Load, refers to small ocean freight shipment wherein the shipper does not contract for a full container since the quantity of shipment is not adequate to contract for a full container. A freight forwarder may create a "Consolidation" by putting together multiple LCL shipments at a CFS (container freight station) before gating in at the CY (container yard) at the origin, and deconsolidated at the destination.
During periods of congestion and peak season, it's easier to secure a spot with LCL shipping than FCL. LCL shipping is a much cheaper alternative; low volume shipments can be transported easily. Also, when the cargo isn't urgent, LCL shipping is a much cheaper alternative.