How to book LCL freight

In container shipping such as ocean and rail freight, LCL stands for less than container load. It means that the shipment by itself isn't enough to fill the container. You can find more information about LCL and other freight term in our help centre. 

You can book your less than container load shipment directly with Panalpina. There are three ways to start your ocean freight LCL booking: from an existing quotation, by duplicating an existing booking and starting a booking from scratch.

Starting your LCL freight booking

Starting from an existing quotation

If you have a quotation that you'd like to book, go to menu and choose "quotes" within the "quote" section. Then click "book" next to the quotation you'd like to convert a booking. Note that you can only convert a quotation once to a booking.

Start a new LCL booking

You can do exactly the same directly from the quotations widget on your dashboard.

Duplicating an existing booking

To duplicate an existing booking, click the 3 dots icon at the far right of the table row of the booking you want to duplicate and click "Duplicate".

Start a new LCL booking from a duplicating booking

In the booking view you can quickly filter for just LCL shipments by deselecting the air freight shipments filter at the top right of the table, leaving only the LCL filter active.

Shipment filter

Above: Air + Ocean LCL shipments shown in table.

Shipment filter - Air Only

Above: Only Air shipments shown in table.

Shipment filter - Ocean Only

Above: Only Ocean LCL shipments shown in table.

You can also duplicate a booking directly from the bookings widget on your dashboard:

Duplicating LCL booking

Starting a booking from scratch

To start with a blank booking, go to the menu and choose "new booking" from the "book" menu.

Start a new LCL booking from scratch

You can jump even faster to a blank booking from the booking dashboard widget:

Start a new LCL booking from scratch

Enter the business partners page for your freight booking

The first screen shows the different parties involved in the shipment. From top to bottom, these are the shipper, the consignee and those to be notified. Any of these can be entered directly or chosen from the contacts dropdown.

If you're duplicating a shipment, these will already be filled in based on the previous shipment.

If you've converted an LCL quotation into a booking, then the address fields will be filled, as shown in the example below:

Start a new LCL booking - Address filled

Street address check

Getting the address correct is really important, so we suggest addresses as you enter them and we take the address apart to check we've understood it correctly too:

Start a new LCL booking - Address checked

This allows you to double check for any misinterpretation that could result from entering the address in a single line. 

Adding people to be notified

You can easily add one or two people to be notified about the shipment. Just click the plus button under notify:

Start a new LCL booking - Notify people

To remove a person to be notified, click the rubbish bin icon. 

Do we already know this company?

When you enter an address, we check it against our own database of companies to see if it's similar to a company we already know. If this is the case, you'll get a pop-up where you can choose from one of the similar companies or keep your existing entry:

Start a new LCL booking - Company check

Shipment details

We know who the parties are involved in the shipment, now we need to know where and when your shipment is going. 

Where is your shipment going?

If you're using addresses, we assume by default that your cargo is going from the shipper's address to the consignee's address. If that's not the case, scroll back up the page to above the map where you will find the pickup and delivery locations. Toggle the slider for "same as shipper" or "same as consignee" to manually enter addresses or choose a container freight station (CFS).

Start a new LCL booking - where and when your shipment is going

When is your cargo to be transported?

If you've used an address for your "from" address, we'll ask you when we can pick it up, whereas if you've decided to bring it to our warehouse (container freight station, CFS), we'll ask you when you'll bring it to us.

Likewise, if you've used an address for your "to" address, we'll ask you when we can deliver your shipment, whereas if you've requested to pick it up from our warehouse, we'll ask you when you want to come and get it. 

Regardless, you can choose either when the cargo is available to begin the journey or when the shipment should have completed the journey but not both. 

Start a new LCL booking - where and when your shipment is going

Picking the Incoterm

Finally, select the appropriate Incoterm. These will depend on the type of locations you've chosen. For example, if you've chosen to bring your freight to Panalpina's warehouse (container freight station, CFS), then ex-works (EXW) won't be available to pick. If you're converting a quotation or reusing a booking, this will already be filled in. 

You can get more information on the individual Incoterms by clicking on the "show explanations" toggle.

Start a new LCL booking - Incoterms

After you've done this, press "next" to go to the cargo details screen. 

You can also press "save" at any point to save the booking as a draft in its current state and come back to complete it later. Any user with access to your subsidiary can pick up the booking and complete it. 

Tell us about your cargo

Nearly there!

We now need to know what you actually want to transport. If you're converting a quotation then some of this information will already be filled in, depending on how much detail you entered whilst making the quotation. 

Firstly, is your cargo stackable? By default we'll assume it is, but if not, toggle it to "no". If it stackable, you'll need to enter the individual dimensions rather than just the overall volume:

Then, tell us about each type of package. What type of packaging is it? How many of them are there? How much does each of them weight and how much space do they take up? Finally, what's in them? If you know the HS Code(s), you can enter those here too. 

Start a new LCL booking - HS Code

If you want to add another package type, click the blue plus icon. To remove one, press the rubbish bin icon:

Start a new LCL booking - Package Types

Next you enter the value of your cargo, add any additional remarks and indicate if you want to take advantage of any of our additional services. 

That's it! We've got all the data we need. Now press next to go to the overview screen:

Start a new LCL booking - Overview

Check out offer

Just like when you make an LCL quotation, when doing a booking we'll show you the price before you submit your booking. If you came from a quotation, we'll show you in the summary on the right hand side the initial quotation price too, so you can see the effect of any changes you made during the booking process, such as increase the weight of the shipment or changing the addresses. 

If you're happy, press "book" to submit it to us and we'll do the rest.

Start a new LCL booking - Checkout

At the end of the process, we'll take you back to the overview of all your bookings. If you have a few, it may take a moment to load. 

Start a new LCL quotation

To start a new quotation for a less than container load shipment, first click "new quote" on the menu and then select "Ocean LCL":

Start a new LCL quotation

Enter the shipment information

Firstly, to give you a price for your LCL shipment, we need to know where your cargo is going from and where it is heading.

For both the "from" (origin) and "to" (destination) locations, you can either enter an address or a Panalpina warehouse (CFS, container freight station).

To enter an address, just start typing the address. The field will auto-complete for you.

Enter the shipment information - Enter the address

You can also choose addresses you've saved to your contacts. Set the slider above the address box to "yes" and then choose from the list:

Enter the shipment information - Enter the address from your contact list

For a container freight station (CFS), select the "Panalpina Warehouse (CFS)" button and then start typing to find a CFS. For example, you might want to find the container freight stations for Germany, in which case just type "Germany" or "DE", the UN code for Germany, to immediately refine the list to show our warehouses in Germany:

Enter the shipment information - container freight station

When should you pick a warehouse or an address? Check out our page on container freight stations (CFS) to find out.

Once you've entered the two addresses, you can see them visualised on the map:

Enter the shipment information - map

Now we need to know how much cargo you want to ship. Either enter the total weight and volume or give us the details of each piece.

Enter the shipment information - weight and volume

We only need the total weight and volume to give you a price, but if you enter more exact details, it will make the quotation more precise and save you having to enter the same details later when you want to book the quotation.

Enter the shipment information - save details

You can also choose if your cargo is stackable. To find out more, please read our page on stackable cargo.

Finally, you can change the Incoterm if necessary. The Incoterms available to choose from will depend on the types of locations you choose earlier, i.e. whether you entered a CFS or an address. For example, EXW (ex-works) is only available if you have entered an address in the "from" (origin) box.

Enter the shipment information - incoterm

In addition, the Incoterms and addresses also dictate which additional services are available, such as customs clearance.

Get your offer

Now we have all the information we need to give you a quotation for your LCL shipment - just press "get a quote":

Get a quote for your LCL shipment

On the offer page, you can view more details of the price by selecting the price details slider.

Get a quote for your LCL shipment - Pricing Details

This shows which charges are included in which part of the price.

What next?

Now that you have the price for your LCL shipment, you can either jump straight to booking it, save it for later (maybe you need to think about whether or not you want to book just yet) or simply choose to delete it.

Book your LCL shipment with Panalpina