If you book a whole container for your sea freight, this is called a full container load or FCL. The term "Full Container Load" is somewhat misleading: since you bear the transport costs of the entire container, how much you fill it is actually up to you. Compared to LCL, Full Container Load has a number of advantages, so FCL can be the optimal transport option even if the container is not used to its full capacity. As logistics experts with experience since 1852, we advise you individually, find the right transport solution and reliably put it into practice!

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Tailor-made solutions adapted to your needs

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Your advantages with FCL Sea Freight

  • Favourable transport option for large quantities of goods
  • Significantly cheaper than air freight
  • Time saving: load once, seal and deliver to destination
  • Greater control over the duration of transport ("ship when you are ready")
  • Higher security, as the container is not opened (e.g. for LCL consolidations)
  • As sole "owner", no risks of contamination / pollution by foreign goods
  • Less risk of damage, as there is no need for multiple repacking as part of LCL consolidation - ideal for fragile and/or valuable goods!
  • Faster than LCL, as consolidations are not required
  • Transport of temperature-sensitive goods possible through reefer container


Our FCL services at a glance

  • Door-to-door transportation worldwide
  • Individual sea freight offers within minutes for hundreds of destinations
  • Expert advice for the transport of dangerous goods and the respective regulations
  • Temperature-controlled transport: refrigeration units & insulation for sensitive goods
  • Smooth customs processing through expert knowledge of the regulations & guidelines of each country
  • Track & Trace: Check consignment status even without logging in
  • Röhlig REALTIME: All details about your shipments in a clearly structured user interface, all free of charge.
  • Transport insurance: cover for loss, damage & financial risks
  • Packing & picking
  • Fumigation to protect your goods and the wood of pallets and other transport materials.

Your advantages of FCL Sea Freight with Röhlig

With Röhlig, you can rely on logistics experts who focus on individual, flexible solutions. With us, you enjoy the comfort of a personal contact who always determines the optimal transport option instead of offering off-the-shelf solutions. The best transport solution always depends on many factors: individual priorities and current circumstances. The free choice of routes and carriers at Röhlig allows for particularly cost-efficient options. High advisory competence plus flexibility: these are the freight solutions at Röhlig!

Röhlig FCL: Your added value at a glance

  • Maximum flexibility through free choice of routes and sea freight carriers
  • Thus always the most economical solution for you as a customer
  • Comprehensive advice and tailor-made services
  • Direct communication with your personal, on-site contact person - even with low order volumes (no call centre! )
  • Global partner network and over 150 own branches in more than 35 countries
  • Load securing by our own trained warehouse experts.
  • Supply security through contractually guaranteed capacities with premium shipping companies (carriers) throughout the year
  • Powerful digital tools for all areas - from the quote to the booking to the retrospective transport analysis
  • Transparent invoicing - We calculate your costs fully, transparently and clearly.


Get individual advice or an FCL offer now

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Digital Tools for Transparency & Efficiency for your FCL Sea Freight

The digital transformation of logistics processes is not just a buzzword for us, but a living reality! With our IT subsidiaries, we develop cutting-edge digital tools. Transparent logistics processes, data evaluation to optimise your supply chain, fewer sources of error through automation of processes, fast access to vital data and transfers through individually created interfaces, quality and risk management ... and more! Use the potential of our digital tools - whether for your FCL sea freight or other Röhlig services.

  • REALTIME: For shipment management, central document management and more
  • FCL Adhoc Quotation: Obtain quotes in real time and book directly - around the clock
  • Customer interfaces: Optimal management of data transfers and analyses through our ERP connectivity competencies
  • Customer Reporting: Easy and fast access to your supply chain information
  • Vendor & PO Management: Monitor order processes and ensure more transparency in your supply chain



Want to transport smaller quantities per consignment? We have solutions for that too:

LCL - Less than Container Load with Röhlig Logistics 

Accelerated LCL with Röhlig Logistics


FCL Sea Freight: Importance and Benefits

The sole use of a container is the classic option for sea freight. There is only one shipper or consignor and one consignee. Especially when it comes to shipping larger quantities of goods, the full-load container is an excellent choice. How much container space is actually used is up to the economic considerations of the shipper. Please follow the legal regulations on weight restrictions and, if needed, ask your local Röhlig expert about the special features of heavy loads.

The common container options are the 40-foot container with a capacity of almost 67.5 cubic metres, the 20-foot container (33 cubic metres) and the 40-foot high cube container (76 cubic metres). The container remains sealed during the entire transport - this allows for extra security. Furthermore, individual additional insurance services can be selected with FCL. The omission of consolidation services allows for particularly time-efficient transport. Depending on the agreed transport conditions, pre-carriage and/or on-carriage can also be carried out by truck, rail or inland waterway vessel.

Frequently asked questions

In principle, all sea freight containers that comply with ISO standard 668 can be used for FCL. There is a whole range of different containers that are used depending on the goods and individual requirements (e.g. maximum weight, required volume). The most common container sizes are 20 feet or 40 feet containers. You can find an overview of different container sizes and types here.


If you compare the two transport options, a whole range of factors can determine whether you opt for FCL or LCL!

  • Costs: FCL is only economical above a certain fill quantity. Smaller freight volumes are generally cheaper by LCL sea freight. It is not possible to make a general assessment of the load level at which the pendulum swings in favour of FCL, as many variable price factors can have an influence. These include the current freight rates for LCL and FCL. Especially for full container loads, the costs can vary greatly depending on demand.
  • Time factor: FCL is faster than LCL because the time-consuming consolidation processes are eliminated - both at the origin CFS (Container Freight Station) and at the destination CFS. Indirect LCL routes can even be split and re-bundled several times. (Direct LCL freight routes or our "accelerated LCL" are faster alternatives here). In principle, the freight duration of an FCL transport can be better planned, but the ongoing challenges within the logistics industry worldwide make this more difficult.
  • Fragility and/or value of cargo: With FCL, you enjoy the privilege of being the sole "owner" of the container's contents. Sealing from origin to destination provides security for valuable cargo. The elimination of frequent movements of goods as part of general cargo consolidation reduces the risk of damage. The risk of contamination from inadequately packed goods from third-party shippers is also eliminated.
  • Availability: When demand for containers is high, for example before public holidays in the Far East (e.g. Golden Week in China), bottlenecks can occur in the availability of full containers. Planning ahead can counteract this. Our recommendation: Book the containers with us at least 14 days in advance so that we can arrange prompt shipping.

Whether you use FCL, LCL or even our expedited LCL depends on many individual factors. Our competent logistics consultants will help you make the optimal choice and will be happy to provide you with an individual, tailor-made offer!

Various factors are included in the calculation of your FCL sea freight rates. These include, among others:

  • Container transfer from consignor to port (pre-carriage) or from port to consignee (on-carriage)
  • Container loading and unloading (if not carried out in-house)
  • Terminal handling for origin and destination port
  • Sea freight
  • Sea freight surcharges (e.g. BAF, PSS, war risk etc.)
  • Costs for the use of the container within the terminal beyond the free period. This includes storage (payable to the terminal for the occupied space) and demurrage (payable to the shipping company for container hire).
  • Charge for late return of containers or late delivery outside the terminal or depot beyond the free period (detention)
  • Costs for empty journeys from the container depot to the packing station or from the packing station to the container depot
  • Costs for customs clearance of the consignment of goods

Some of the services and costs mentioned can also be bundled, such as the handling costs at the terminal with the sea freight rate.


Under certain conditions, the transport of dangerous goods in full containers is also possible. This depends on the route chosen and the hazard classification. The dangerous goods must be declared and relevant documents provided, along with appropriate, secure packaging.

Reliable packaging is essential for LCL sea transports. Insurers may refuse to settle a claim if your goods have been inadequately packed. Double-walled crates that can safely carry the weight of the contents are recommended. Secure the crates with high quality materials. Products inside the crates should also be securely packed.

Goods that are sensitive to moisture should be protected accordingly - for example, by wrapping in plastic. Moisture-absorbing desiccants are also recommended. Otherwise, try to ensure the package is fully filled to avoid damage during transit.

If you use pallets for your LCL freight, distribute the boxes evenly in terms of weight and avoid goods protruding beyond the pallet.