International Ocean and Air Freight


Full Container Loads (FCL)
No matter the size of the container, if you will be the only customer using a container the shipment is referred to as an FCL shipment.

Less than a Container Load (LCL)
If you share a container with another customer sending goods this shipment is a consolidated shipment referred to as an LCL shipment.

Some of the tips below are general tips for both FCL and LCL shipments and some of them apply specifically to one or the other as noted.


We can help you determine what container size is right for you.  There are three steel container sizes.  You may have seen the containers on the highway. They have the shipping company name on their sides like Maersk Lines, APL, Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg SUD, etc.

  • 20 Foot Container is 19 feet 4 inches long by 7 feet 8 inches wide by 7 feet 10 inches high with a total volume of 1172 cubic feet
  • 40 Foot Container is 39 feet five inches long by 7 feet 8 inches wide  by 7 feet 10 inches high with a total volume  of 2390 cubic feet
  • 40 Foot HC Container is a foot higher that the standard 40 Foot Container and has a total volume 2694 cubic feet

You can use our Freight Calculatorto help you estimate the size of the container that is right for you.

While the 40 Foot Container is twice as large it only costs about 30% more in ocean freight charges.  The trucking transportation and other expenses are the same regardless of the size of the container.

If you do not have enough goods to fill up a 20 Foot container you can consolidate your cargo with another customer shipping to the same port (LCL Shipment). But be aware that this may end up costing you more because of packing rules associated with “LCL” shipping.

Because this is not your own container all your freight has to be packed in boxes to avoid damages to your freight and the other customers. So even if you have only one fifth of the volume (About 200 cubic feet) of a 20 Foot container you will need to pack larger items like some furniture in wooden crates so by the time you pay cost of the additional packing materials, the cost of the transportation to a container freight station where cargo is consolidated, the ocean freight and the very high cost of devanning the container at the port of destination you may exceed the cost of shipping a 20’ container on your own.

Let us know what you have and we will see what is the most convenient and cost-effective way to send it.

If you cannot pack and load your personal effects, call a couple of moving companies to give you a quote to help you pack and load.  To save money you can pack your smaller items in shipping cartons and let the movers just do the bigger stuff like furniture and appliances.