Step By Step Guide for Sending Goods By Sea Freight using Less Than Container Load (LCL)
Caption of a world map.

Step By Step Guide for Sending Goods By Sea Freight using Less Than Container Load (LCL)


Shipping by Seafreight

A step Step By Step Guide for Sending Goods By Sea Freight using Less Than Container Load (LCL).
AO Pic

By Kunle Onas


This guide provides you with details about how shipping by sea (sea freight) works. Shipping by sea involves the transportation of goods across the ocean from a place of origin to a place of destination. We have provided you with detailed information needed to choose the correct shipping option with greater emphasis on Less Than Container Load (LCL) services. This will keep you informed of what to expect before you book your next shipment.

In the process of shipping your goods, you will come across some important terms and stakeholders in the sea freight industry. The 4 key players in LCL shipping are: Shipper, Consignee, Freight Forwarder and Shipping Line.


LCL stands for Less than Container Load. This refers to a shipment that does not fill up a standard shipping container. In Less than Container Load shipment, the container is filled with cargoes from other consignees who share the container space. When the goods arrive at the destination port, they are separated at a container freight station.

LCL has been a popular cost-effective option for small shipment over the years. It is a lot cheaper than sending your goods by air freight or paying for a full container. This also means you can send your shipment anytime you want to, (as a small shipment) instead of waiting to have a full container load (FCL).

In the process of shipping your goods, you will come across some important terms and stakeholders in the sea freight industry. The 4 key players in LCL shipping are: the Shipper, the Consignee, the Freight Forwarder and the Shipping Line.

  • Shipper: This is the first person in this shipping mode. This could be you, a factory, or a seller of a product. The shipper now requires the services of the Freight Forwarder.
  • Freight Forwarder: A Freight Forwarder is an agent who acts under the instruction of the Shipper or the Consignee. The Freight Forwarder will do the packing, storage, transport, handling and custom clearance of the goods at the point of destination. Meanwhile in the process of transportation, the shipment is handed over to the Shipping Line.
  • Shipping Line: A Shipping Line is a company or organisation that owns and operate the ship that carries the container/cargo from port of origin to port of destination. When the goods get to the port of destination, they are separated at a container freight station. At this point, the Freight Forwarder who is the agent takes over the handling and custom clearance of the goods. Ready to be delivered to the Consignee. In rear cases, the consignee might decide to clear the goods themselves.
  • Consignee: The Consignee is the recipient of the shipment at the point of destination.  His name , physical address and phone contact is written on the bill of lading.

The Physical steps and workflow you will adopt when shipping by seafreight.

  1. Export Haulage: This is the first step in Sea freight shipping. It is the transportation of cargo from the shippers premise to the Freight Forwarders origin warehouse. Transportation  is usually by means of truck. It could take from a few hours to days dependent on distance. Now depending on the agreement, it is the responsibility of the shipper or consignee to take up the financial responsibility of transporting the shipment to the forwarders origin warehouse.
  2. Origin Handling: This covers the physical inspection (tailed) and carriage of the goods from origin warehouse till it is consolidated with other shipment, stuffed in a container and loaded on the ship. There are however several other people/steps involved  in this process, it is the responsibility of the forwarder to take care of them. While origin handling in performed by the forwarder, it is paid for by either the shipper or consignee.
  3. Export Customs Clearance: are all the procedures and formalities that must take place to meet the regulatory requirements. Export procedures regarding export goods are finalised in a clearance office. Export customs clearance is performed by a freight forwarder who has a valid license or an agent chosen by the freight forwarder. All export clearance must be completed before leaving the country of origin.
  4. Ocean Freight: The freight forwarder decides which shipping line will ferry the shipment from origin to destination in a timely manner. The shipping line and the forwarder has a contract binding the together. The sender or consignee need not know the shipping line, they have a contract with the forwarder. There are several surcharges associated with this such as bunker adjustment factor and currency adjustment factor. Be sure to know that these costs will be levied to either the shipper or consignee, therefore to avoid unnecessary delays, make sure to have a clear agreement of who pays for what each time you book a shipment.
  5. Import Customs Clearance: are all procedures and formalities that must be meet regulatory import requirements. Here a declaration is developed and submitted in addition to some vital documents so as to enable the authorities levy any duty required on the shipment. Import customs clearance must be processed and completed before the cargo leaves customs bonded area in the destination country.
  6. Destination Handling: This involves the movement of  the container from the sea to shore and from the destination terminal to the forwarders destination warehouse or address. It also involves off-loading the container and getting it prepared for collection by the consignee. Destination handling also has its charges.
  7. Import Haulage: The last step/stage of sea freight is the delivery of the shipment to the consignee. If a door-to-door service is agreed with the forwarder, then the forwarder delivers the consignment straight to the address on the waybill. Import haulage contains transportation to an address but does not cover unloading, it is the responsibility of the consignee.


When using our seafreight service, we try and make things as easy as possible for our customers, so there are a few things that you need to do before we pick up your packed items.

First and Foremost are Your Labels

Whether you’re sending packages, luggage, or boxes abroad, each and every item must be marked with the name and address of the recipient – The Consignee.
More so, all handbags, luggage box and holdalls should have the appropriate labels attached before we come and collect them.
It’s also worth remembering that all items should be locked and or sealed before we begin the delivery process.

We can wrap your goods for you

For those that are concerned for the welfare of their goods, we can also offer an additional wrapping service at just £5 per package.
Using black plastic shrink-wrap, after completing wrapping, the material strengthens and waterproofs your packages while also offering total privacy from the outside world.
We also offer a range of fillings during Export Packing so that the items within your packages are safe from movement during the delivery process.

Request for a free quote

If you’re interested in our seafreight services, you can receive a free and no obligation quote by checking out our Get a Quote page, or if you have any questions with regards any of our services, please contact us here.

Airfreight - Express Courier, Airfreight To Door & Online Fulfilments.

Seafreight - Shipping Containers, Automobiles & Equipments.

Road freight - Sameday Collections, Collections from Uk & Europe.

Spread the word

Leave a Reply

Close Menu