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FCA (Free carrier)

What does FCA mean in shipping?

FCA, or Free Carrier, is an Incoterm (International Commercial Term) used in international trade to define the point at which the seller's obligations are fulfilled and the buyer assumes responsibility for the goods. Under FCA, the seller delivers the goods, cleared for export, to the carrier or another party nominated by the buyer at a specified place. This term is versatile and can be used for any mode of transport, including air, sea, rail, and road.

What is the difference between FCA and FOB shipping?

While both FCA and FOB terms delineate where the seller's responsibility ends and the buyer's begins, they differ mainly in their application and the specifics of delivery:

  • FCA (Free Carrier):
    • Delivery Point: The seller delivers the goods to a carrier or another party at a location specified by the buyer, which can be the seller's premises or another named place.
    • Modes of Transport: Can be used for any mode of transport, including multi-modal.
    • Risk Transfer: Risk transfers to the buyer once the goods are delivered to the carrier.
  • FOB (Free On Board):
    • Delivery Point: The seller is responsible for the goods until they are loaded onto a ship at the port of shipment.
    • Modes of Transport: Primarily used for sea or inland waterway transport.
    • Risk Transfer: Risk transfers to the buyer once the goods pass the ship's rail at the port of shipment.

Who pays for FCA shipping?

Under FCA terms, the costs and responsibilities are split between the seller and the buyer:

  • Seller: Covers costs related to delivering the goods to the specified location, including export duties, taxes, and any charges up to the point of delivery.
  • Buyer: Takes over responsibility and costs once the goods are handed over to the carrier. This includes transportation costs from the point of delivery to the final destination, insurance, and any import duties or taxes.