Incoterm Free Carrier Shipping (FCA)

What does the Incoterm Free Carrier Shipping (FCA) mean?

Businesses involving import and export can be successful. But first, you need to understand the fundamentals of shipping. One of the most important things to remember to do is learn the laws and regulations governing exporting goods utilizing various shipping options.

These guidelines are referred to as incoterms in the shipping industry. Despite the fact that there are numerous varieties, buyers and sellers frequently employ FCA incoterms. So what exactly are FCA incoterms, if you're wondering? Additionally, what limitations these agreements impose on buyers and sellers, as well as their benefits and drawbacks. Here, you will find all the solutions.

What are the FCA Incoterms and what do they entail ?

Typically, FCA shipping involves the seller delivering the products to the origin port from their warehouse located in the origin country (referred to as the "FCA warehouse"). A typical FCA shipment involves the seller shipping the products from their warehouse in the nation of origin to the port of origin that the buyer has specified as the "designated place." As a result, the "designated place" could be any location specified in an importer's FCA agreement, including an airport, seaport, or other facility.

fca fob incoterms import export

Additionally, the seller is responsible for organizing a pre-carriage service to move the products from their location to the specified location.

They are also in charge of getting the export license and paying any fees associated with exports.

On the other hand, the purchaser loads the container themselves onto the carrier (such as a cargo ship). Additionally, after unloading products at the import port of the final destination nation, they transfer the items to their warehouse. You assume all fees and risks associated with shipping.

This indicates that buyers must bear a greater portion of the expense than the seller.

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Understanding FCA Shipping: What is FCA’s Role in Shipping?

First things first, the choice of shipping method is up to the buyer and seller. Therefore, under FCA incoterms, the importer is free to arrange for an airfreight carrier provided they can afford the related transportation costs and they choose to ship their goods that way.

Despite the fact that neither buyers nor sellers who use FCA shipping are required to get insurance, they are free to do so at their discretion.

So long as both parties successfully complete all export and import procedures If "sea freight" is selected as the primary mode of transportation, then the following is how FCA shipping phrases describes the shipment of products from the seller's nation to the buyer's country.

Seller’s obligations under FCA

Step 1: Seller uploads goods to a local carrier (truck, van, etc.)

Step 2: The vendor transports the vehicle to the export port.

Step 3: Seller/Exporter maintains goods at the port of export

Buyer’s obligations under FCA

Step 1: The products are removed from the truck by the importer's representative or the shipping firm (the same conveyance arranged by the seller).

Step 2:The shipping process then begins once the products are loaded onto the cargo ship at the port of origin under the buyer's control.

Step 3: The buyer transfers all of the items from the ship to the local transportation after they arrive at the destination port (import port).

Step 4: The buyer's house is visited by the neighborhood carriage, which is frequently a truck (warehouse, factory, or any other place)

Step 5: The buyer unloads the commodities from the truck after they arrive and keeps them on their property. As you can see, purchasers in FCA incoterms have more obligations to meet than sellers for the minimum steps.

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Typical Application of FCA Incoterms

Let's use an example to learn more about FCA incoterms.

10,000 denim shirts were to be shipped as per an agreement between "Harry the Buyer" in Canada and "Liam the Seller" from China.

On the FCA Incoterms, both parties concurred. Liam the Seller will deliver the products to a port in China once he has finished all the export paperwork and received approval from the authorities (origin port).

typical incoterm fca example comparison Until he turns the cargo over to the agent or transporter by Harry the Buyer, "Liam the Seller" will be accountable for the full consignment's security and delivery (who will be there at the port of origin).

So that Harry may receive the shipment, the transporter or agent will now be in charge of delivering the items from the origin port to the destination port.

The seller's obligation will therefore be in effect up until the products are delivered to the port of origin, as you can see from the example above. The buyer will thereafter be in charge of shipping the items from the port of origin to the port of destination.

Even though it is not needed, the seller can arrange and pay for significant transportation from the departure port to the port of destination if the buyer requests it. Even then, the buyer is still responsible for all significant freight costs.

Responsibilities of Buyers or Importers under FCA 

Buyers and importers have certain responsibilities under the Free Carrier (FCA) Incoterms norm, which is commonly used in international trade, to facilitate smooth and successful operations. Understanding your responsibilities under FCA as a buyer or importer is critical for minimizing risks and costs connected with goods transportation.

Origin Charges on Terminal

The price of the shipping terminal shall be borne by the buyer. At this stage, the cargo is prepared to be loaded onto a specific ship or vessel for continued transportation to the final destination.

Charges for loading

The cost of the shipping service, which includes loading fees, will be covered by the customer.

Transportation Fees

Freight costs for moving goods from the origin port (airport or seaport) to the designated location are covered by the importer.

Terminal Destination Fees

When the consignment gets to the destination port, the buyer additionally pays the terminal fees. These fees include the costs of unloading, holding, and moving the load while it is still there until the conclusion of all import processes.

Transporting the Goods to the Location

Transporting imported products from the destination port to other locations of the buyers' choosing, such as a warehouse, is the sole responsibility of the purchasers.

Unloading the Packages at the Location

The cost of any unloading must be paid for by the buyer when the products are delivered.

Customs and Import Duty Clearance

The customer is responsible for paying all any import-related tariffs and taxes. The buyer must follow instructions in the event that the authorities conduct any inspections.

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Understanding FCA Logistics: Responsibilities of the Seller and Buyer

Buyers and importers have certain responsibilities under the Free Carrier (FCA) Incoterms norm, which is commonly used in international trade, to facilitate smooth and successful operations. Understanding your responsibilities under FCA as a buyer or importer is critical for minimizing risks and costs connected with goods transportation.

Export Standard Packaging

Some nations insist that export goods come in distinctive packaging. distinctive packaging To successfully export goods, a seller must

in accordance with the country packaging requirements of the importer.

Customs and Export Duty Clearance

The costs associated with export taxes and tariffs that are necessary in their nation are the seller's responsibility. Additionally, they must guarantee customs clearance and be ready to handle any special clearance or shipment inspection that may be required by the officials.

Setting up the pre-carriage

As a seller, it is your job to set up a pre-carriage to transport the goods from your warehouse to the designated location (origin port). You are responsible for paying the costs associated with loading the products from your.

What Sellers Must Carry Out Under the FCA

Several FCA obligations are imposed on sellers or exporters, including:

  • The seller must deliver the business invoice and proof of conformance along with the items.
  • Must deliver all the items within the deadline at the agreed-upon location (often the origin port). All goods must be given to the carrier if the time isn't specified.
  • The seller is liable for any form of damage or loss of the goods up until delivery on the origin port.
  • Must provide evidence of delivery along with any other transportation documentation in cases where the customer made those arrangements.
  • Pay for all necessary export and import clearance costs (inspection, security, licensing, etc.) and aid with import clearance
  • Responsibility to measure, weigh, mark, count, and pack goods
  • Inform the buyer when the products are delivered or if the carrier does not receive the goods.

What Purchasers Must Do Under FCA

Buyers or importers are required to comply with the following FCA incoterms:

  • Pay the amount negotiated for the products.
  • Accountable for any injury or destruction that occurs after receiving the seller's products. If a carrier cannot be arranged by the buyer. Or, the buyer is also exposed to these risks if the transporter fails to pick up the items.
  • Requesting a ride from a taxi service
  • Guarantee the protection of the items and request the carrier's transport documents.

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FCA Incoterms: Pros and Cons

FCA benefits for sellers

FCA incoterms Pros Cons

  • Due to the fact that a lot of costs are borne by the buyers, FCA terms are affordable for sellers.
  • The buyer is always required to abide by the agreements made with the seller and cannot decline to meet obligations.
  • Very little possibility of the items being harmed or lost is required; all that is required is to arrange and pay for the pre-carriage to deliver the goods to the origin port.
  • Not be required to pay for the primary mode of transportation or terminal fees
  • It saves money on insurance because the seller is not required to get it.

FCA’s drawbacks for sellers

  • Paying for pre-carriage transportation, putting products on it, moving them to the origin port, and export documentation is necessary.

FCA’s benefits for consumers

  • The package can be tracked easily.
  • An FCA agreement does not require you to buy insurance.

FCA disadvantages for buyers

  • Responsibility for the packaging and transportation of goods from the location of the seller to the specified location
  • In FCA delivery, the buyer is responsible for any loss or damage that occurs during delivery from the origin port to the specified location (in the destination country).
  • You are required to pay the full freight costs for the primary carrier to deliver goods from the origin port to the destination port.
  • More of the shipping burden falls on customers.

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What does the term risk transfer in the FCA Incoterms mean?

fca vs fob risk transferKeep in mind that under the FCA, exporters are obligated to pay a pre-carriage fee to transport products from their warehouse to the origin port (named place). The risk automatically shifts from the selling party to the buying party when the pre-carriage arrives at the origin port and the products are received by the importer's designated party or a shipping company. 

In FCA Incoterms, who is responsible for paying for customs clearance?

You are responsible for paying the export-related taxes and tariffs as the seller. You must also cover the cost of the miscarriage. Additionally, you are in charge of gathering significant export documentation.

On the other hand, up until the products arrive at the destination port, the importer is also responsible for the bulk of the transportation costs. The pre-carriage to move the items from the port of destination to the designated warehouse or facility is also included by the purchase price. In a similar vein, the purchaser is required to cover the cost of import customs clearance at their local customs office. 

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Those Who Should Employ FCA Incoterms

FCA generally supports the seller. The rationale is because they are no longer responsible for the products once they have delivered them to the buyer's designated shipping firm or person at the origin port.

Contrarily, as a buyer, these incoterms are expensive and difficult because, in most cases, the importer is responsible for covering losses and damages brought on by the protracted shipping process.

FCA for Bringing in Chinese Goods

When it comes to the export of various items, China is a global leader. Compared to FCA, Chinese exporters rely more on FOB. Here are some suggestions for you if you do decide to import from China using the Free Carrier Incoterms:

Inquire about the exporter's comfort level with the FCA incoterms.

Find a trustworthy sourcing firm in China, such as DocShipper, so you may learn everything there is to know about the Chinese exporters eager to cooperate with an FCA. China


DocShipper incoterms exw fca fas fob cfr cif cpt cip dpu dap ddp


A common incoterm is EXW or Ex-Works. However, the insurance plan is the only distinction between FCA and EXW.

While the FCA agreement exempts both buyers and sellers from purchasing an insurance policy, it is their responsibility to insure their goods. The customer must, however, arrange for insurance in the case of EXW.


DAP (Delivered At Place) refers to the delivery of goods to the buyer's specified locations, typically within the destination nation. While under Free Carrier, customers plan and pay for the bulk of the shipping to receive their purchases.

However, neither party is required to carry insurance under either of the incoterms.

To conclude 

Through the use of FCA incoterms, the buyer and seller can divide the cost of the import and export procedures. Despite the fact that buyers have a few more obligations than sellers, these requirements benefit both parties and ensure successful delivery. Docshipper can assist importers in obtaining products from China at fair prices. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts for more information. 

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