Shipping Jeans by Full Container loads or LCL?




Shipping denim and other clothing from Asia

So you have designed the latest fashion in denim pants or denim jackets styles, saved a bundle by having them made in Asia and now the garment factory asks you to which port they should deliver your order? Nobody told you that you also had to ship and import your own goods and from the looks of it, the process of importing and declaring goods to the customs department is a profession in itself. What to do next?

Our advice is: before you contact an international freight forwarder and / or an customs broker, make sure that you know some of the things that matter in the international cargo shipping arena.

On this page you will find some tips and indicative pricing on shipping garments from Asia to the USA and Europe.

Common Shipping Terminology:

Boxpacking for CargoLet's start with some common shipping terms: there is LCL which indicates a Less than Container Load and there is FCL, which indicates a Full Container Load. LCL shipments are normally charged by the number of cubic meters (CBM) that a shipment occupies. Sending something LCL adds some risk to the transport, as there are more shipments combined in a single container and your shipment might be affected by those other shipments in the same container.

Types of sea containers:

There are 3 types of containers that are most commonly used when shipping garments from Asia. First there is the 20 feet sea container. A 20 feet container can hold anywhere between 9500 jeans and 11000 jeans, depending on the type of packing that is used. Next, there is a 40 feet container, which can hold 19000 - 20000 pants or jackets. At least, but definitely not least, is the 40 feet Hi-Cube container. These big boys can hold 21000 - 23000 pcs of denim fashion garments.

the loading of a container with garments

Common Terms of sale:

Garments Factories or Clothing Exporters will quote prices with the following extensions:

EXW (Location of factory or warehouse): which stands for Ex-Work. The prices quoted are not inclusive of any form of transport. The buyer will need to arrange transport from the factory or a warehouse to the final location.

FOB (Name of City or Port of departure): which stands for Freight On Board. This basically means that the supplier will transport the goods to the vessel they will be loaded on, or that they will pay for the transportation of the container or LCL parcels to the nearest main seaport. Legally the FOB obligation ends when the goods pass the rail of the ship and all risks and costs will be transferred to the receiver / importer.

C&F or CFR (Name of Port of Arrival): which stands for Cost and Freight. C & F prices include all costs and freight involved in shipping the garments to their destination. Be aware that this does not mean they will deliver the goods to your doorstep! The seller or exporter is only required to arrange for transport to a main seaport near you or your client.

CiF (Name of Port of Arrival): As C&F only the seller is also responsible for insuring the shipment.

There are a few other "Terms of Sale" options, but the are hardly used in the fashion industry and are, therefore, not listed on this shipping and international transport page.


For shipments to most western countries including, but not limited to, the USA and EU, the garments have to be packed in boxes with one or more poly bags inside them, protecting the clothes. Most Middle Eastern, African or South American countries' import regulations will allow clothing to be packed in plastic bales, which will allow for bigger quantities to be send in the same space, because the exporter can literally stuff the container to the ceiling and every last cubic decimeter of space will be utilized.

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