LCL (Less than Container Load) is the bundling of smaller freight volumes from several different shippers which are then transported cost-effectively as a whole container (full container load). LCL transports are part of our comprehensive sea freight service. The added value of LCL with Röhlig ranges from special flexibility to tailor-made solutions and powerful digital tools.

LCL-Sea Freight-Experts

Individual advice from professionals

Maximum Flexibility

Tailor-made solutions adapted to your needs

Digital Tools

Offer, booking, and transport status transparency and analysis

Advantages of LCL sea freight at a glance

  • Flexible routing options
  • Economical shipping of smaller consignments
  • Only pay for the space you use in the container
  • Reduction of storage necessities
  • Eliminate full container costs (empty runs & demurrage costs)
  • Easy change of container and transport mode possible
  • Optimal cash flow (smaller, regular amounts)


Our services

  • Tailor-made LCL freight solutions
  • Individual and fixed contact persons
  • Economical and efficient due to free choice of transport routes and itineraries
  • Combination options for Sea and Air freight
  • Digital analysis for optimisation
  • Dangerous goods transports: transport organisation based on the hazardous goods ordinance
  • Customs clearance: Specialist knowledge of the regulations & guidelines of each country
  • Transport insurance: We take care of loss, damage & financial risk coverage
  • Transport planning, packing & picking

Your advantages when shipping LCL with Röhlig

Enjoy maximum freedom with your LCL sea freight options. At Röhlig, we never limit your options, even in favour of our own consolidation services. This means that we will always present you with the most cost-effective options. Your personal contact will always work out an individual, tailor-made freight concept. Thanks to Röhlig REALTIME, you can not only view the consignment status, but can also use the transport data for further analysis.

Röhlig LCL - Your added value at a glance

  • Maximum flexibility through a wide choice of routes and consolidation partners.
  • Always the most economical solution for our customers
  • Comprehensive advice and tailor-made services
  • A consistent, reliable contact person
  • Powerful digital tools for all areas - from the offer to the booking to the retrospective transport analysis


Get individual advice or an LCL offer now

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Co-loading and own consolidation

Typically, there is a high degree of cooperation in LCL ocean freight. Strategic “co-loading” partnerships maximise the flexibility and speed of transport while maintaining a high-quality service.

Thanks to our network we offer you:

  • Access to over 2,500 direct LCL services (no deconsolidation until destination)
  • Over 60,000 possible routes (combination of origin and destination CFS)
  • Several shipments per week

We also offer our own consolidation services (groupage) on frequently used routes. We take care of a range of services from consolidation to loading and transport. You also benefit from a high degree of flexibility - you can change the mode of transport up to three days before departure. In addition, we also arrange special customer consolidations (e.g. customer collectors, buyer or seller consolidations). Our consolidation services are always tailored to the customer's needs, while our advisors always look for your optimal solution - whether co-loading or our own groupage service.

➳ Find out more about our sea freight consolidation services!

Your advantage with sea freight by LCL: our digital solutions

The digital age is also shaping the logistics industry. Modern data processing simplifies and accelerates processes, makes supply chains transparent and enables data-based analyses. At Röhlig, effective data management is the basis for consistent and reliable sea freight services including LCL, expedited LCL and customer consolidation. Together with its IT subsidiaries, Röhlig offers convincing solutions to fulfill your potential in LCL sea freight.

  • REALTIME: For shipment management, central document management and more
  • LCL 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



LCL shipments usually take more time than other transport options. If you would like to take advantage of LCL but want a faster shipment, our "Expedited LCL" could be the right alternative. Find out more now! 

 Expedited LCL with Röhlig


Interesting facts about LCL sea freight

LCL Sea Freight: Meaning

A whole container (Full Container Load aka FCL) is not always required when shipping your goods via sea freight. For smaller volumes, LCL (Less Than Container Load) consolidates shipments from different customers. This is done in special consolidation centres or Container Freight Stations (CFS). Which are not necessarily located close to air or seaport infrastructure. The consolidated shipments are then shipped in a container. At the destination CFS, the bundled consignments are then split up and transported as individual consignments to their final destination.

Advantages of LCL compared to other freight variants

The bundling of different consignments can lead to attractive prices even for smaller transport quantities. You only pay for the space required to carry your shipment. In addition, certain costs that are incurred with full container transports (such as demurrage charges or moving the container) are only charged on a pro rata basis. For recipients with limited storage capacity, small, regular "just in time" deliveries can be better than less frequent full container deliveries. Moreover, if some freight is needed even faster, it can be switched to air freight.

Frequently asked questions

When it comes to choosing the appropriate mode of transport, there are several criteria to consider:

  • Costs: LCL sea freight is undoubtedly a favourable transport option. The smaller and lighter the freight (up to a minimum of one cubic metre), the greater the cost advantage over a full container (FCL). As the quantity increases, there is a break-even point at which even an FCL that is not completely full can be cheaper. Furthermore, freight rates for LCL and FCL can fluctuate, the latter being particularly volatile.
  • Time factor: LCL is slower than FCL, as more time is needed to bundle and split consolidate multiple shipments from different shippers. On indirect LCL freight routes, the shipment can be reconsolidated several times. Expedited LCL can be a good alternative for time-sensitive shipments.  
  • Nature of the goods shipped: Apart from the time factor, the more frequent "handling" and moving of cargo during consolidationscan pose a risk to sensitive goods. With FCL, you use the container exclusively. Your goods do not come into contact with anyone else‘s, minimising the risk of damage.
  • Availability: During peak periods, such as the period leading up to China's Golden Week, FCL capacity can be more likely to be exhausted than LCL transport options.

Obviously, the trade-off between FCL and LCL depends on what works best for your business. You can rely on personalised advice from our experienced staff who prepare a tailor-made offer for every enquiry.


On direct LCL routes, the container, once consolidated, remains intact until it reaches its destination. Röhlig offers you over 2,500 direct LCL sea freight connections within its network. With indirect LCL, the cargo may be reconsolidated several times during transport, which costs additional time.

Various factors are taken into consideration when calculating your LCL sea freight rate, for example:

  • CFS reception

  • Container transfer from CFS to port or port to CFS

  • Container loading and unloading

  • Terminal handling at port of origin and port of destination

  • Sea freight

  • Sea freight surcharges (e.g. BAF, PSS, war risk etc.)

  • CFS goods release

Some services can also be combined, such as the handling costs at the terminal with the sea freight rate.


Dangerous goods can be transported by LCL under certain circumstances depending on the route and the hazard classification of the goods. Dangerous goods must be declared and documented accordingly and appropriately packed. 

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.

For freight, both the weight (expressed in metric tonnes) and the dimensions (cubic metres = length x width x height in metres) are considered. The larger value is always used to calculate the costs.  The reason for this is that a container can hold a maximum volume, which is in relation to a maximum weight. Thus, a container can hold approx. 3 times as much volume in cubic metres as weight in metric tonnes. Depending on which size is reached first, the container is considered to be fully loaded. Accordingly, the unit of measurement with the higher factor is always used to calculate the freight costs.

Calculating freight weight mainly depends on the transport distance. In addition, different cost components may have different calculation bases.

The tool to track your consignment – Röhlig REALTIME

Track & trace is an important tool for tracking consignments that allows you to efficiently manage your supply chain. Our customer portal Röhlig REALTIME, which is easy and intuitive to use, gives you an overview of the status of your orders – including customs clearance status. Data can be easily exported as Excel tables. Regardless of whether you’re in the office at your place of work or on the move around the world, Röhlig REALTIME is optimised for various end devices: desktop, tablet or smartphone. So you always know the status of your freight.

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