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Importance of cargo consolidation in ocean freight
Importance of cargo consolidation in ocean freight

Many businesses struggle to move freight efficiently, save on transportation and manage their supply chain to meet the delivery deadlines in the time of tightened capacity. Freight consolidation is one of the most promising options for companies who want to compete with giant retailers and are seeking solutions for a fast, convenient, cheaper option to ship their goods. Usually, the amount of freight from one shipper is too small for a full truckload, and it is expensive to regularly book full truck capacity to ship loads with different address destinations. One of the most efficient solutions to reduce costs and achieve shorter transit times is freight consolidation.

Ocean freight is the linchpin of global trade as it carries more than 80% of global trade connecting ports, countries, and continents.

Cargo consolidation is when multiple small shipments are combined into one truckload and forwarded to the same location. Basically, it is a multi-stop truckload shipment with several shipments that are picked up in a consolidation warehouse or distribution center and remain in the same truck until it reaches the final destination.

There is a well-built rule in breaking shipping costs: the bigger the load volume is, the lower the cost per unit. This enables shippers to combine their loads and share transportation costs.

There are various types of ocean freight shipments in the market such as container, bulk, break bulk, projects, etc each with its own individual characteristics. Within the containerisation segment there are different options for customers such as FCL, LCL and Consolidation.

In this article, we will look at what is Consolidation, its significance in global trade and how it benefits customers.

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What is cargo consolidation?

A quick look at the definitions

FCL = Full Container Load = 1 shipper and 1 consignee.

LCL = Less than Container Load = multiple shippers and multiple consignees. This service is offered by the shipping line directly.

Consolidation = Similar to LCL but the service is offered by a consolidator and not by the shipping line.

Many a time, shippers may not have enough cargo to fill a full container. If they don’t optimize container usage, it will lead to unnecessary costs as they have to pay for the full container even if they are not able to fill the container.

This is where Consolidation comes in.

Consolidation is the process of receiving and collating cargo from various shippers, sorting them by transhipment or final destination and loading those multiple cargoes into a container. The company that does this activity is called Consolidators.

Where consolidation differs from LCL is that in LCL?

The shipping line themselves do this consolidation and issue their bill of lading to the shippers.

What's FCL and LCL transportation from China to the US?

What is china FCL sea freight service?
Advantages of FCL sea freight service from China

Advantages Of FCL:

     · Exclusive use of the container for your goods.

     · Reduced risk of damage or loss since the container is not opened until it reaches the destination.

     · Faster transit time compared to LCL shipments.

     · More flexibility in terms of loading and unloading schedules.

Advantages Of LCL:

     · Cost-effective for smaller shipments that do not require a full container.

     · Shared shipping costs among multiple shippers.

     · Greater flexibility for shippers with smaller volumes of goods.

     · Possibility to ship goods to multiple destinations within the same container.

In consolidation, the consolidator does this activity and issues their House Bills of Lading to the shipper and book the full container with the shipping line as an FCL and collect the line’s Master Bill of Lading.
Critical Reasons for Choosing LCL Shipping Service


What are the benefits of cargo consolidation?

Cargo consolidation is a key strategy for shippers looking to optimize costs and improve security among other things and has below benefits.

Space optimization

Cargo consolidation makes the best use of the available space in each container by combining several smaller shipments into one to the same destination. Consolidators are able to fill up containers more efficiently, which means they need fewer containers and can lower shipping costs.

Cost efficiency

Cargo consolidation helps shippers save money on freight rates as they will be paying only for the space that they use. This is usually calculated based on the weight and volume shipped.

For regular businesses between the same shipper and consignee, consolidation could work very well as the shippers can send just the amount of goods required by the consignee instead of sending a full container, avoiding storage costs for the consignee as well.


A salient advantage of cargo consolidation is the feasibility it offers shippers to dispatch smaller volumes consistently and regularly. This frequency facilitates efficient planning and scheduling of production or assembly for both shippers and consignees. Enhanced frequency enables swift market response, allowing businesses to adapt to market demands and trends efficiently. Moreover, regular, and smaller shipments can mean better cash flow and inventory management for businesses.

Environmental Benefits

By using container space more efficiently customers will need to ship fewer containers allowing shippers to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact in the shipping process.

The reduction in the number of containers shipped translates to reduced fuel consumption and emissions while also potentially reducing the risk of maritime accidents and cargo damage.


In many countries, consolidators act as customs broker and/or freight forwarder. This means the shipper and consignee don’t need to engage the services of another agent to do their customs clearance and forwarding. This significantly reduces their administration time and costs.


As shippers are able to split their orders into smaller pieces and use consolidation services, they can ship orders to their consignees quickly and more frequently. Consolidation also allows for direct routes with fewer stops improving overall shipping efficiency and speed.


Based on their established relationships with various reputed carriers, cargo consolidators are able to offer dependable and timely transportation of goods to several destinations around the world. Several consolidators also offer consistent weekly services to chosen destinations, which means an alternative is always available if a sailing is missed one week. Such reliability is paramount for shippers to maintain supply chain integrity and in fostering trust and confidence.



The multifaceted benefits of cargo consolidation in ocean freight makes it as pivotal strategy for savvy shippers. It not only offers economic advantages through optimized space and reduced rates but also fortifies security and accelerates the shipping process.

The reduction in administrative hassles and the promotion of ecological sustainability further elevate the significance of cargo consolidation.

For customers who manoeuvre the intricate world of global trade, leveraging cargo consolidation can be a game-changer, aiding them in navigating the logistical labyrinth adeptly.

Consolidation is especially beneficial to small and medium enterprises (SME), allowing them to compete more effectively in the global market by optimizing their shipping operations.

It can be hard to find a carrier that does consolidated shipping. However, a convenient shipping service provider can resolve this problem. Cargo consolidation is a good decision for shippers who regularly move goods headed in the same direction and is perfect for transporting fragile items since there is no extra handling of your product.

Whether you are deciding if the consolidated shipping matches your needs, partnering with an experienced Winsail logistics will simplify the process for you. If you need any help with your shipment, contact us by email

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