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What additional costs to be aware of for LCL freight?

Transportation can be a significant expense for any company that deals with the movement of goods. LCL or Less than Container Load freight is multiplied by the number of shipments you do at once.

Shipping your products in one shipment to many different companies via LCL rather than individual trips is cheaper on your wallet. It is excellent news if you have multiple locations or are shipping all over the country.

However, there are additional costs to consider when working with an LCL freight carrier.


Some carriers will charge you more if you ship oversized items or require extra supplies to ensure they stay safe during transit. If your shipper seems to be refusing to move your shipment at a reasonable cost, ask for their packing list.

If they say you have oversized items or require extra care, see if their charges seem fair. You may have been unaware of these fees and not adjusted your shipping practices accordingly.

LTL vs truckload

Though it generally costs more per cubic foot than truckload (LTL) freight, LCL is cheaper because there is no need to pay for someone else’s space between shipments. That being said, different freight carriers will charge different prices based on the type of product you ship and whether you choose LCL or LTL options.

Fuel surcharges

As fuel prices continue to rise across the nation, so do the costs of transporting your shipment. This price increase is passed on to you by freight carriers who factor them into their rates.

Customs clearance

Some international carriers charge this fee to cover the cost of getting your product through customs. If you are purchasing and selling internationally you may need to pay this in addition to inland transportation fees. Be sure that if you are quoted one rate for shipping, it includes all necessary fees and taxes.

Documentation fees

Due to safety concerns or other regulations, freight carriers sometimes have strict document requirements for imported or exported products. If your items require anything beyond the usual bill of lading, they may charge a fee to provide these documents.

Additional charges

It is the catch-all fee for anything else the carrier may not mention. If they need to use more than one truck or plane, for example, you may pay additional charges. It also applies if they need to reroute your shipment to avoid traffic problems or construction.

Before agreeing to them, you must be aware of any possible alternative routes and their effect on your total transport costs.

Loading fees

The same goes for loading fees; these are often charged when items require special attention to load safely, such as fragile goods or ladders, but it’s often applied when using an LCL shipping service with another company’s freight inside.

Dimensional Weight (DIM)

Dimensional weight is a calculation made to weigh your shipment based not on the actual weight but its dimensions. It is essential for LCL freight because it is charged by volume, and you may be paying for some space that will remain empty.

For example, if your shipment of ladders takes up half the box but doesn’t add much weight, you’ll pay more than if they were tightly packed in a smaller amount of space. If possible, try to divide your shipments into several smaller shipments instead of one large one.

Pre-packing fees

Remember, when preparing your shipment, factor in any prep fees involved with pre-packing at their source before sending them to another company. Otherwise, you could find your shipment returned to your doorstep with an additional charge for unloading.

Repacking fees

It may seem obvious, but many first-time LCL shippers play it safe and overpack their shipments to avoid fees. Unfortunately, this can lead to more damage in transit if they are forced to repack the items into another container at their destination. Use good judgment about how tightly you pack your shipment; don’t be afraid of somewhat loose packing material as long as it will keep the contents secure during transit.


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