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We have created and continue developing this web-based application - - which is a global logistics management enterprise related to shipping FCL freight from the USA overseas. The access to the FCL ocean freight application is always available via the upper menu of our website "How much?". 

FCL is the abbreviation for "Full Container Load" used in the International Ocean Freight Industry for Exporting and Importing cargo to and from the USA. This term is commonly used to describe an international sea freight service that is designed for ocean freight shipments of cargo where shipper has exclusive use of sea freight multimodal container. As a rule ocean freight containers are loaded and sealed by shipper at the shipper's facility. Then it transported by ocean, rail and/or truck directly to the point of final destination.

NOTICE: If you have cargo sufficient to fill a 20 foot sea freight container, we still recommend you to compare FCL ocean freight service to an LCL option. In certain circumstances you may find that using international LCL ocean freight service for shipping goods overseas may be more convenient and cost-effective for you than FCL or service provided by international moving companies.

For example, when you self-deliver boxed cargo to an international shipping company ship-terminal (CFS - Container Freight Station, international ocean freight carrier's shipping terminal), you eliminate ocean freight containers pre-carriage and waiting charges, which may be equal or even higher than shipping cost on ocean freight itself (i.e. shipping cost for sailing of your goods by sea). Also you are not obligated on the sea freight container return to ocean freight carrier's destination container yard. 

However, for sizable international ocean freight shipments that fit into 40 foot sea freight container, FCL can be the only option in order to complete your Import or Export shipment by sea efficient. Shipping goods from or to the USA in multimodal sea freight containers should be safer and more cost effective than using other ocean freight services such Ro-Ro or Break-Bulk.

As mentioned above, you may get an instant access to our current international FCL freight rates in this link - 

Unlike using international ocean freight services provided by international moving companies (most of the time when you relocate overseas), which would pack and load all your stuff in a sea freight container; when using international FCL ocean freight service from an international shipping company (Freight Forwarder, NVOCC, VOCC), the international shipping company will just deliver the sea freight container for the load to your door. You have to load and secure your good in the sea freight container. Trucker will wait for one or two hours for free. (Note: Additional waiting time charges $50-$75+ per hour may occur if you exceed the free loading time. Always be prepared to meet and load your sea freight container). Then that sealed sea freight container will begin its international trip to the nominated destination. You (or your consignee/recipient) are held responsible to meet the ocean freight container at the destination. 

A note for not-commercial international shippers: Services offered by international moving companies may be more convenient for not-commercial international shippers. International moving companies may pack and load all your stuff into sea freight containers, while with an international shipping company shipper's resposible for the container load. However, after you will compare shipping costs between international moving companies and international shipping companies (Freight Forwarders or NVOCCs) in shipping price quotes obtained in advance, you should find the significant difference in prices. We suggest you always shopping around in advance. Then compare prices and service packages offered by international moving companies and international shipping companies (Freight Forwarders and NVOCCs).


Besides commonly used 20'STD, 40'STD and 40'HC ocean freight containers, there are numerous of other types of ocean containers used in the international ocean freight industry, including 45' High Cube, Open Tops and Flat Racks sizes of 20' and 40' etc. However, as a rule these types of sea freight containers are subject to equipment availability from Steam Ship Lines (direct ocean freight carriers, international ocean freight transportation companies). In certain circumstances it can be limited. Then, if you are shipping a regular cargo by sea, we suggest planning your international ocean freight shipment by using one of these three types of multimodal sea  freight containers below:  


Interior Dimensions (L x W x H): 5.919 m x 2.340 m x 2.380 m (19'-5'' x 7'-8'' x 7'-9' 1/2'')
Door Opening (W x H): 2.286 m x 2.278 m (7'-6" x 7'-5 1/2")
Tare Weight: 1,900 kg (4,189 lbs)
Cubic Capacity: 33.0 cbm (1,165 cubic ft)
Payload* :22,100 kg (48,721 lbs)


Interior Dimensions (L x W x H): 12.051 m x 2.340 m x 2.380 m (39'-6 1/2''x 7'-8'' x 7'-9 1/2'')
Door Opening (W x H): 2.286 m x 2.278 m (7'-6" x 7’-5 1/2")
Tare Weight: 3,084 kg (6,799 lbs)
Cubic Capacity: 67.3 cbm (2,377 cubic ft)
Payload*: 27,397 kg (60,401 lbs)


Interior Dimensions (L x W x H): 12.056 m x 2.347 m x 2.684 m (39'-6 1/2'' x 7'-8 1/4''x 8'-9 1/2''
Door Opening (W x H): 2.340 m x 2.585 m (7'-8" x 8'-5 3/4")
Tare Weight: 2,900 kg (6,393 lbs)
Cubic Capacity: 76.0 cbm (2,684 cubic ft)
Payload*: 29,600 kg (65,256 lbs)

*Payload weight exceeds over-the-road legal limits in US and Canada. Recommended maximum ocean freight containers payload for the US and Canada is 35,000 lbs per 20' and 42,000 lbs per 40'.

A note for not-commercial shippers: International moving companies will use for your international moving the same containers as international ocean freigh shipping companies do. Keep it in mind when estimate capacity of ocean freight containers for your international shipment from or to the USA by sea.  


  1. A 'LIVE LOAD' - means that international ocean freight shipping company's trucker will deliver an ocean freight container to your location and wait while you load, secure and seal the container for the international shipment. Free loading time may vary from one to two hours. If you will exceed the free time limit, then you pay $50-75+ per hour for each additional hour of loading time.
  2. A 'DROP AND PICK' - means that international ocean freight shipping company's driver will deliver and leave the ocean freight container at your location for several days. Then he will return to pick up the loaded, secured and sealed sea freight container to the international transportation company's container yard (CY) for the international shipment by sea. In respect of calculation of total shipping cost of you international shipment by sea, the inland part of the shipping cost at origin with 'drop and pick' generally costs twice as much as with 'live load'. However, 'drop and pick' has the advantage that shipper can take a time on loading and securing commodity in the sea freight container.
    If you load a sea freight container near a seaport or an international ocean freight shipping company's container yard, the cost for 'drop and pick' is often not much higher than with 'live load'. That added shipping cost might worth of taking your time on loading and securing the ocean freight container. However, if you locate a good distance from the port or container yard, then it is possible that a 'live load' will be the only option available for your international ocean freight shipment.  
  3. 'IN A WAREHOUSE QUALITY LOADING' - (do not confuse with a service from an international moving company) means that shipper self-delivers loose cargo to an international ocean freight shipping company's warehouse or to a loading dock of company, which specialize in quality loading of cargo into sea freight containers for international shipments. Once goods are received and accepted by the shipping warehousel, it will be loaded and secured in the ocean freight container. Then the sealed ocean freight container will be delivered it to the ocean carrier's Container Yard (CY) assigned for your international shipment. 
    The 'In a Warehouse Quality Loading' method is not always available. This freight service can be costly. However, it should be less expensive than using an international moving company's service. Plus the professional quality loading company waehouse should guarantee safety of cargo in the container during its international shipment by sea. If the quality loading company locates near your international ocean freight carrier's container yard (CY) and has a permit to the ocean freight carrier's CY, then with this method you may save on shipping cost of inland pre-carriage part of your international shipment as well.  

    Note: This topic is not intended to discuss packages of services offered by international moving companies on international ocean freight shipments in multimodal sea freight containers. Information on services offered by international moving companies is widely available on the Web.  


  1. Commercial Facility – Pickup location provides a loading dock with a ramp and forklift. Shipper is responsible for loading and securing cargo in ocean freight containers delivered for the international shipment by international ocean freight shipping company's trucker (or arranged by a freight forwarder). 
    When your container(s) leaves your facility, make sure that you have on hand a copy of dock receipt provided, signed and dated by the trucker of the international ocean freight shipping company, with the sea freight container's and the seal number in it.
  2. Residential location – SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. No ramp is available. Shipper loads an ocean freight container by his own. Shipper is held responsible for loading and securing cargo in sea freight containers. 
    You may consider hiring a professional stuffing company (an international or local moving company) in purpose to load your ocean freight container. If you are hiring an international or local moving company then remember to pay attention to the time slot for the sea freight container delivery confirmed by the international ocean freight shipping company or its trucking company at a time of booking your international shipment. International shipping company and/or its trucking company cannot 100% guarantee this time slot on the ocean freight container delivery. Discuss that with your international or local moving company assigned for the load in advance. 
  3. Warehouse – SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. Shipper delivers pre-packed cargo to the nearest available international shipping company's warehouse. Once your goods are received, a sea freight container will be delivered to the warehouse for the load. Rate will include all applicable charges related to cargo receiving at the warehouse, storage (if any), loading and securing cargo in the sea freight container for the international ocean freight shipment from or to the USA.

    a. Shippers highly experienced in international shipments;
    b. Freight forwarders and NVOCCs;
    c. Sea freight shipments of 'shipper owned containers' (SOC) including above a. & b. requirements.  

    With this 'ocean freight only' option shipper is also entirely responsible for obtaining permits for access to piers or rail-yards of steam ship line (SSL or direct international shipping company used on your ocean freight shipment from or to the USA). In the USA this generally requires a Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement, or UIIA. Any roll-over charges that may appear during sea freight containers pulling and any other charges that may be added to the shipping cost of inland part of international shipment with this 'ocean freight only' option are on international shippers account.

    Notice: For multimodal ocean freight containers rented by shippers from a SSL (direct international shipping company used on your ocean freight shipment from or to the USA), the shipper is responsible for the return of sea freight containers at the destination. When use service from an international moving company, discuss the sea freight container's return issue in advance.  


Most of the time international FCL ocean freight rates offered by international ocean freight freight forwarders for import or export freight to or from the USA would be 'DOOR-PORT FOB vessel' or to be more specific - 'EXW (Ex Works) named place of cargo pickup TO named destination seaport (or container/rail yard in a landlocked final destination’s city), FOB (Free On Board) ship's rail at named port of origin'.

That means that international ocean freight quotations offered contain charges related to: container(s) delivery to your location for the load and returning this loaded sea freight container back to the international ocean freight carrier's container yard (CY); origin THC – Terminal Handling Charges and fees related to origin's customs export formalities and export document turnover; and cost for sailing of sea freight containers) to the final destination named in the international ocean freight rate confirmation and in carrier's ocean freight bill of lading thereafter.

However, these ocean freight quotations DO NOT include any charges at destinations.

Upon arrival your ocean freight container to an import port of entry of destination country, consignee (recipient) will be responsible for all charges related to the imported cargo recovery at the destination. I.e. in order to get this cargo released he/she must pay destination to THC, import Customs related charges, cargo release and ocean freight carrier's destination agent fees, etc at the destination.

A sample of FCL sea freight quotation (export from the USA)

COMMODITY: Dry salted Lamb skins
EXW (Ship from): Dixon CA 95620, USA
SHIP TO: Novorossiysk, Russia
BASIS: Door to Port
TRANSIT:  35 Days
20' Standard USD 4050;
40' Standard USD 5150;
40' High Cube USD 5150

* Above rates are valid through 6/7/2007 
* Rates DO NOT include import customs clearance fee, duties, taxes or marine cargo insurance.
* Marine cargo insurance cost is 1.5% of cargo value subject to deductible of usd 1,000 per container; minimum premium usd 350 per sea freight container.
* Maximum legal payload 18 metric tons per 20' & 20 metric tons per 40'; cargo must be evenly spread along sea freight container floor. 
* Plus International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) Euro 14 per container for all cargo via UK/Continent/Scan-Balt/Black Sea
* Plus ocean freight carrier security fee (CSF) for all USA and Canadian ports of loading, each export ocean freight container in the amount of USD $6
* Containers must be returned "CLEAN AND ODOR FREE".  Any container cleaning costs if any will be for account of the shipper.



A. Storage/demurrage on international ocean freight shipments at destinations.

In several days before your cargo shipped by sea will arrive to the destination port of entry your consignee (recipient) should receive an import notification. As a rule it will be an arrival notice faxed or e-mailed to the consignee. Otherwise it can be a phone call or mail. Make sure that contact information of consignee initially provided in your sea freight booking request is correct and valid.  

Act promptly. Your free storage time at a destination ocean freight carrier's container yard is limited. Depending on destination it varies between 7 to 14 days. Thereafter storage/demurrage may increase total shipping cost for your international shipment by sea dramatically.

Laws allow your consignee working on the imported cargo recovery directly with destination county's customs and other parties related to your international ocean freight shipment.

However, if the consignee is not familiar with import procedures, we recommend him/her immediately request your international shipping company/its destination agent to complete the import cargo release on your behalf or forward the notice of arrival along with other documents required by destination authorities to a freight forwarder or destination customs broker. They will charge a reasonable fee for its service. However, they should obtain customs and warehouse releases on your import with no (or minimum) storage/demurrage charges on your international shipment by sea. 

Below is a sample of STORAGE/DETENTION & DEMURRAGE charges at MSC's CY in KOTKA, FINLAND.



Open space, non-imo containers - Cost per day / per container


Free Time
7 days
7 days

8th to 14th day

15th to 30th day


For reefer containers please add following charges on a.m.:
Connecting/starting/disconnecting of reefer container EUR 27,00/pc. (During nights and weekends double price)
Control of temperature EUR 5.00/pc/day.
Electricity EUR 17,00/pc/day

In Euros (€). Free days are calendar consecutive days from date of discharge.


Free Time
7 days
7 days
7 days

8th - 14th day
10.00 €
20.00 €<
20.00 €

20.00 € 
40.00 €
40.00 €

90.00 €
110.00 €
130.00 €<


B. S.O.C. - Shipper Owned Containers

When you book an FCL ocean freight shipment and request an ocean freight container delivery for the load you "rent" the container from the ocean freight carrier (direct international shipping company). Container's "Rent" charges are included in the international ocean freight rate. However, shipper should always remember that after container is released at the destination and left carrier's Container Yard (CY) to be unloaded at the consignee's facility, it must be returned to the ocean freight carrier's CY within a certain time limit. Otherwise container detention charges may apply on the ocean freight.

If your destination facility is far away from the international ocean freight carrier's CY, then you should pay attention to possible charges on container detention.

For example, upon your cargo release at the destination seaport (CY) your sea freight container must continue to travel by rail thousands mile away from the CY in bond or not. Then the empty sea freight container must be returned back to the ocean carrier's CY.

In this situation, in order to avoid sea freight container detention charges and eliminate expenses related to the container return, the only option is using S.O.C. - Shipper Owned Containers, i.e. an "One Way" sea freight container.     

S.O.C. means that you buy a container for the international ocean freight shipment at origin. Then the sea freight container is your property and you are not obligated to its return. After it is emptied you may sell it, use for storage, destroy it etc.  
There are a lot of dealers in every country around the world that sells new and used multimodal sea freight containers. Consider S.O.C. in your shipment.

However, before purchasing a container for your international ocean freight shipment you should consider:

Why do you need S.O.C? Consider a reload imported and released by customs cargo from your sea freight container to a trailer or in another container obtained at the destination.

If you still need a S.O.C then think about:

  • Does rate offered effective for S.O.C? 
  • Does international ocean carrier require a sea freight container condition survey before the container is loaded?
  • Consider a crane usage for lifting your ocean freight container on/from chassis or flatbed. Most container delivery trailers are designed to slide containers off to the ground & cannot handle the weight of a loaded sea freight containers.  
  • Do not overload sea freight container. Consider road weight and ports cranes limitations.
  • Do you have insurance of the type that will cover you in the event that ocean freight container failure damages the cargo of others or the vessel? Most likely you insurance will cover your cargo, but not the damage you do to others. 
  • Notice: S.O.C may send a negative message to Customs. Customs know that "Shipper Owned Containers" may mean a "one way trip", it can often mean junk or even hazardous cargo and often purchased at the end of their service life.

Find more about S.O.C. used for international shipments by sea in this link

C. Shipper's responsibilities on commodity and export and import shipping documents submitted to an ocean freight international shipment

In respect of dealing with a freight forwarder, shipper should clear understand that he/she is responsible for description and legality of commodity and sufficiency of shipping documents submitted to an international shipment.

Carrier's ocean freight bill of lading, final document that acts as a title for shipped goods, as a rule states 'SHIPPER'S LOAD AND COUNT' and 'SAID BY SHIPPER TO CONTAIN'. That means that the international ocean carrier (and a freight forwarder who represents this carrier) is not responsible for information provided by shipper on his commodity. 

A freight forwarder should guide shipper in complexity of international shipment procedures. However, it is shipper's responsibility to provide all necessary documents related to his international shipment that will be required by origin and destination country officials.

Below is the list of common used documents required to be submitted to an international shipment by sea:


A. Ocean freight Bill of Lading – Ocean Carrier's transport document. Shows cargo routing, consigner, consignee, cargo description, etc. The title on shipped goods.

B.1. For commercial international ocean freight shipments - Commercial Invoice. Complete description of commodity being shipped.

B.2. For shipping household goods and personal belongings overseas – Valued Packing List. An inventory list with value assigned to each item being shipped.

Notice: some courtiers require proforma commercial invoices for personal international shipments as well. However, having a complete Valued Packing List submitted at origin, upon destination customs request, make it easier to transfer your Valued Packing List in form of proforma commercial invoice.   

In respect of U.S. Customs, all Commercial Invoices (and Valued Packing Lists) must be in English and show:

Value of cargo in US Dollars (exchange rate = date of export);
Shippers full name and address (M.I.D. - manufacturer’s identification); 
Consignee full name and address; 
Detailed description of cargo/freight; 
Quantity of cargo shipped; 
Weight of cargo shipped;
Cargo's Country of Origin

D. Packing List in ocean freight - Breakdown description: pieces, weights and packing materials. (Examples - Wood Pallets, Skids, Crates, Boxes, Dunnage, Straw Packing, etc.)

E. Fumigation Certificate - Certification that cargo and packing materials were fumigated after cargo had been containerized and is free of Infestation.

F. Special Documents - Dependent on commodity and country of origin.

Certificate of Origin 
North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin (N.A.F.T.A.) 
Packing Declaration 
Dangerous Goods Declaration - hazardous materials 
Fish and Wildlife Declaration 
Consular Legalized documents 

Sizes of Sea Freight Containes | Stuffing Methods | Types of PU Locations | Reading FCL Ocean Freight Rate | Avoiding Mistakes with Sea Freight | S.O.C.

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