What’s a “Consol Box” you ask? It requires a bit of background information, so let’s get you all caught up with how a Consol Box works in containerised shipments and why LCL cargos are related to Consol Boxes.
Containerisation revolutionised the shipping industry when it was introduced over six decades ago, making waves in globalisation for ease and quick shipping on a global level. As containerisation took off, the types, services and sizes of containers also evolved with it. The containerisation service types included the likes of FCL and LCL.
FCL which stands for Full Container Load is a container service type that involves a full container being utilised by a single customer for only their cargo, with exclusivity. One of the key factors with this container service type is the fact that the client takes full responsibility (as well as the liability involved) for the packing of their cargo and the condition in which the cargo is loaded and packed into the container too.
LCL is its counterpart for those clients who do not need a full container as the contents are less than s full container loads of goods. LCL stands for Less than Container Load. Essentially, there are several clients (shippers and consignees) allocated to share a single container space. The term consolidation involves the act of consolidating or grouping together the various cargo for the LCL containerisation service type by what is called the Consolidator. In such an event, the container is located at the freight forwarders or the packing station which is called the Container Freight Station (or CFS) where all the cargo designated for the particular container is grouped together and then loaded on. This particular container is called the LCL Container if it is carried out by the shipping line and if it is done by a Consolidator, then it is referred to as a “CONSOL BOX”.
Whilst it sounds alike, there is a difference to LCL and Consolidation (or Groupage). The main difference involves the documentation involved and the respective parties. The consolidators will issue House Bills of Lading to the shippers and thereafter secure a Master Bill of Lading for the container from the shipping line once booked (with the line on FCL basis) which will show the consolidator as the shipper.