Ohio LCL Shipping Often Makes Most Small Business Sense
Ohio LCL shipping (less-than-container-load) makes the most sense for many small business owners requiring lower-volume, time-sensitive freight shipments that won’t fit in an entire ocean container, but would cost too much to send by air freight.
A full container load, or FCL shipping, is when a cargo shipping container’s space capacity is maxed-out. Although large corporations often have no problem regularly filling entire shipping containers, smaller companies may rely on international trade or products, but don’t do the same kind of volume needed to fill a whole space. LCL shipping allows both the space and cost to be shared, so you aren’t stuck footing the bill for an entire full container load you don’t need.
With international cargo shipping, figuring out the optimal method for YOU is key to reduce losses and maximize profitability. Whether you run with LCL or FCL, make sure you’re getting:
- On time cargo delivery to the proper destination;
- Optimized freight costs;
- Simple, streamlined processes.
If container freight cargo shipping is something your Cleveland company is exploring, On Time Delivery & Warehouse third-party logistics professionals can assist in mapping a supply chain cost-benefit analysis and determining which method makes the most sense. Implementing that plan is also seamless, with our own committed Container Freight Station and Customs Exam site and established import/export procedures already in place.
Trade-Offs With Ohio LCL Shipping
LCL shipping historically didn’t have the rosiest reputation. Compared to FCL, LCL was generally considered slower (delays with other goods grouped in the same container) and riskier (damage mostly due to individual packaging and/or container loading errors).
As demand for international, U.S. and Ohio LCL shipping rose (particularly during the recession), the process became overall more streamlined, transparent and faster. Last year’s Review of Maritime Transport by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development revealed more than 80 percent of global trade by volume is conducted via ships and seaports. What you as a small Ohio business can glean from that is you’re in the same boat as a lot of other companies. Sharing container space can help improve everyone’s supply chain.
Today, some key benefits LCL shipping customers report include:
- Faster delivery for tight deadlines. LCL has become the go-to when there’s a strict schedule requiring guaranteed times for departure, transit and arrival. Less than container loads used to be associated with frustrating bottlenecks, this changed when third-party logistics firms began strategically favoring lower-demand ports, situating CFS facilities nearer to shipment destinations, increasing service/ sailing frequency and allowing expedited LCL services.
- Lower costs. True, LCL shipping can be costlier per cubic meter compared to FCL, but if you don’t consistently pack those containers full, you aren’t seeing the cost benefit anyway. LCL shipping is the better choice, and it’s cheaper than air freight on time-sensitive, low-volume orders. Customs delays, historically another common LCL shipping gripe, often involved a single product halting transit of the whole container or flat per-shipment fees that cost everyone more. Smart LCL shipping strategy has largely negated this (again by avoiding busier ports and keeping CFS facilities closer to destinations.) The other component we’ve found essential at On Time Delivery & Warehouse is cultivating solid relationships with local customs agencies. Knowing the local agency expectations, procedures and people helps us significantly reduce customs delays.
- More flexibility. Smaller orders delivered by LCL shipping can be produced, packaged and delivered without pressure to fill the containers. That allows small businesses to sidestep the excess inventory trap – a high priority for companies whose product mix is broad and constantly changing, as product obsolescence is a major risk. Plus, because LCL shipping over seas is cheaper than air freight, it may be possible to lower minimum order quantities, which could be a customer selling point.
- Greater transparency with technological advances. Ever-advancing tech tools have allowed Ohio LCL shipping companies to more accurately monitor supply chain data, consolidate vendors and quote costs. There can be a lot of variables involved with any international shipping, but our long-time experience in addition to better tracking and inventory software help us stay ahead and make sure deadlines and expectations are met or exceeded.
Less than cargo load isn’t for every company, but a lot of Northeast Ohio small businesses consider it crucial to operations.
If you have questions about Ohio less than cargo load shipping services, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or sending us an email.
Less Than Containerload, More Than Worth It, Feb. 21, 2013, By Lisa Terry, Inbound Logistics
More Blog Entries:
Get The Most From Your Third-Party Logistics Partnership, May 30, 2018, Ohio LCL Shipping On Time Delivery & Warehouse Blog