Features of the organization of LCL containers transportation

Anton A. Voronenko

Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok  

Abstract: Modern international trade is characterized by the possibility of delivering goods of various cargo batches. In addition to the transportation of bulk cargo, consolidated transportation of small-lot cargo in standard containers or LCL (Less Container Loading – a container filled with cargo for different recipients), which became most widespread in the mid-2000s, are very popular and in demand in the Russian market of transport services. The article describes the typical reasons for the consolidation of goods in one container, as well as the difficulties in organizing the transportation of imported consolidated cargo in a container, identified in practice.Keywords: Far East, seaports, container transportation, consolidated cargo, LCL, container lines, cargo batch, import  


The load on the infrastructure of the Russian ports of the Far East, which has significantly increased over the past 3 years, forces shipowners to increase the rotation of ports of destination, and makes transport companies change the scheme of transportation. Particular growth in the transportation of consolidated cargo was noted in the first year of the pandemic against the backdrop of a decrease in capacity on air routes, including in imports. Transportation of consolidated cargoes through the ports of the Far East has its own regional characteristics associated with the technologies of the ports, the need to disband import containers for customs clearance and subsequent reconsolidation.

It is worth noting that there are no vehicles directly designed for the isolated transportation of small cargo over long distances. One of the important characteristics is the size of the transport lot. The widespread use of vehicles, or rather their cargo spaces, for the transportation of bulk cargo raises the question of economic efficiency in the transportation of small-lot cargos, the size of which does not imply the full use of the cargo space. A logical transport solution is the consolidation of several lots into a transport consignment in various combinations, which, in turn, makes it possible to use for their transportation the same vehicles as used for bulk cargo. [1]  

Far Eastern features of the transportation of consolidated cargo in containers

In the Far East, the transportation of consolidated containers was used, first of all, in the organization of the delivery of mixed consignments of northern supply in the last two decades of the Soviet period. Then the mass introduction of this technology began in the 90s for delivering goods from the western regions of the Russian Federation, due to the need to transport small consignments of consumer goods.

Through the ports of the Far East, a wide range of various goods, mostly non-perishable and non-hazardous, are transported in consolidated containers. The main reasons for sending LСL consignments are the dimensions and weight of the goods, which are incomparably less than the parameters of the cargo space or container for shipment by sea and / or rail transport, the cost of services of which is much lower compared to air transport. It is worth noting here that mainly goods with a relatively low cost are transported in consolidated containers, while high-value goods are mainly transported by aviation. A separate narrow segment is sending product samples to potential customers.

As an example, let’s consider the technology of organizing the transportation of consolidated cargo in a large-tonnage container – machine packed in a wooden box – during multimodal transportation along the route Shanghai – Moscow. Overall dimensions of the box: 1200 x 1100 x 800 mm; weight: 1100 kg. If we use a standard 20-foot container to transport this cargo, then we will encounter the following features:

  1. Internal dimensions and load capacity of the 20-ft container exceed the actual dimensions of the cargo by more than 20 times;
  2. The cost of transporting a container by sea and rail is practically independent of the amount of cargo loaded into the container;
  3. The requirements for the safe transportation of cargo oblige to place cargo in a container, using its full capacity, and if this is not possible, to ensure reliable fastening of cargo inside the container in accordance with the standards and requirements of the carrier.

It can be concluded that the transportation of this machine in a container as the only cargo is not economically feasible, and also involves additional costs associated with ensuring the safe transportation.      

(End of introductory fragment)