FCA Incoterms: A Guide to Free Carrier Shipping by Mairon

In the world of international trade, understanding Incoterms is vital. They play a crucial role in defining the responsibilities and liabilities of both buyers and sellers. As we continue to expand our Incoterms ‘hub’ blog, today, we delve into FCA Incoterms – Free Carrier Shipping.

What are FCA Incoterms?

FCA Incoterms, short for Free Carrier, represent a pivotal point in the journey of goods from seller to buyer. Under FCA, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to a named place or carrier. This term signifies that the seller’s obligations are fulfilled when they hand over the goods, cleared for export, to the carrier nominated by the buyer at the named place or point. Understanding the intricacies of this term is essential for smooth international trade operations.

FCA Shipping Obligations

To navigate the complexities of international trade, it is crucial to comprehend the seller’s and buyer’s obligations under FCA Incoterms.

Seller’s Responsibilities

  • Preparing and packaging the goods for export.
  • Delivering the goods to the named place or carrier as agreed.
  • Export clearance and covering export duties.

Buyer’s Responsibilities

  • Nominating a carrier and agreeing on the named place for delivery.
  • Import clearance and covering import duties.
  • Assuming the risks and costs from the moment the goods are delivered.

Advantages of using FCA Delivery Terms

Choosing FCA Incoterms offers several advantages for both buyers and sellers:

  1. Control Over Transport: Buyers can select their preferred carrier and have more control over the transportation process.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Sellers are responsible only up to the point of delivery, reducing their financial burden.
  3. Global Reach: FCA is widely accepted, making it a versatile choice for international transactions.

When to Use an FCA Agreement

FCA Incoterms are suitable for various scenarios, but they are especially useful when:

  • Goods need to be transported by multiple carriers.
  • Buyers want to have more control over the shipping process.
  • The seller wishes to minimise their responsibilities and costs after the goods are delivered.

FCA Incoterms Best Practices

To ensure the seamless application of FCA Incoterms in your international trade dealings, consider these best practices:

  1. Clear Communication: Maintain transparent communication between the buyer and seller regarding the named place and carrier.
  2. Documentation: Ensure all necessary documents, such as bills of lading and export/import permits, are prepared accurately.
  3. Insurance: Determine responsibility for cargo insurance – it’s often the buyer’s responsibility after the goods are delivered.

Difference between FCA and EXW

It is worth noting the key difference between FCA and EXW (Ex Works) Incoterms. While both place a significant burden on the buyer, EXW obligates the buyer to bear all transportation costs, including export duties, while FCA requires the seller to cover these expenses up to the point of delivery.


Navigating the world of international trade requires a firm grasp of Incoterms like FCA. Mairon, with over 25 years of experience in the business, is here to guide you. Whether you are a seasoned trader or new to global commerce, understanding FCA Incoterms can streamline your operations and protect your interests.

Ready to embark on your international trade journey with confidence? Contact Mairon today, and let us open up new horizons in global business together.

Send us a message or call 01732 464 134