Free Carrier (FCA)

What is
Free Carrier (FCA)

Free Carrier”, abbreviated as FCA, is an Incoterm that defines a specific point within the logistics process where the responsibilities and costs transfer from the seller to the buyer. Under FCA terms, the seller is obliged to deliver the goods to a carrier, or another person designated by the buyer at the seller’s premises or another specified location. Once the goods are handed over to the designated party, the risk of loss or damage, as well as any additional costs, transition from the seller to the buyer.

Key Features of FCA

  • Delivery Location: Under FCA terms, the seller must provide the goods at a specific location chosen by both the seller and buyer. This could be the seller's own premises, a dock, an airport, or any other place agreed upon.
  • Transportation Responsibilities: It is the buyer's duty to organize and finance the main shipment of the goods from the predetermined spot. The seller plays a role by helping to load the goods onto the carrier chosen by the buyer or mutually agreed upon.
  • Risk Transfer: The moment the goods are handed over to the carrier at the location agreed upon marks the point where the risk shifts from the seller to the buyer. The buyer then assumes responsibility for any damage or loss that might happen during the transportation.

Obligations of the Seller

  • Before Shipment: It is the duty of the seller to make sure the goods are appropriately packed, marked, and prepared for export. This includes securing any required export permits or paperwork.
  • Handing Over: The seller must ensure the goods are handed over to the shipping agent at the designated spot within the agreed time frame. They should also inform the buyer in time to make transport arrangements.

Obligations of the Buyer  

  • Transportation and Insurance: The buyer is tasked with arranging and covering the costs for the primary transport of the goods, as well as obtaining necessary insurance. They must select a trustworthy carrier and guarantee the goods are properly safeguarded while in transit.
  • Importing Process: The buyer oversees all import-related procedures, including getting through customs, paying duties, and handling taxes at the destination. They must be knowledgeable about the importing laws and necessities of the destination country.

Strategic Advantages of Using FCA

  • Enhanced Logistic Efficiency: FCA terms offer the parties involved in freight forwarding the ability to streamline their operations. By allowing the buyer to choose the carrier, it opens opportunities for negotiating better freight rates and selecting the most efficient routes.
  • Clear Demarcation of Responsibilities: The clear demarcation of responsibilities under FCA terms ensures that both parties are precisely aware of their duties. This transparency reduces the risk of disputes and facilitates smoother transactions, contributing to stronger business relationships.
  • Cost Control: With the buyer taking charge of the transportation from the agreed point, there is a direct influence on the control of logistics costs. This arrangement can lead to more competitive pricing structures and enhanced cost management in the freight forwarding framework.

FCA and Freight Forwarding Software

In today’s digital era, leveraging technology is key to optimizing freight forwarding operations. Freight forwarding software plays a crucial role in managing the intricacies of international trade under various Incoterms, including FCA. Such software solutions offer comprehensive features for tracking shipments, managing documents, and ensuring compliance with global trade regulations, thereby enhancing operational efficiency and reducing risks associated with FCA transactions.

How Freight Forwarding Software Facilitates FCA Transactions

  • Automated Documentation: Streamlines the creation and management of necessary documents, ensuring compliance and timely submission.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Offers visibility into the movement of goods, enabling better coordination and planning.
  • Carrier Management: Simplifies the process of selecting and managing carriers, ensuring that the buyer’s preferences are accommodated efficiently.


The Free Carrier (FCA) Incoterm is an essential element of the freight forwarding ecosystem, offering flexibility, clarity, and control in international trade transactions. Understanding and effectively implementing FCA can lead to significant advantages in terms of logistics efficiency, cost management, and operational transparency.  

Shipthis is designed to streamline your freight forwarding process, from automated documentation to real-time tracking and carrier management, ensuring your FCA transactions are handled with precision and expertise.  

Contact us today to learn how Shipthis can transform your logistics operations and propel your business forward in the global market.

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