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Free Carrier (FCA)


Free Carrier (FCA) is a trade term that specifies the obligations of the buyer and the seller in shipping goods. Under FCA terms, the seller assumes responsibility for the goods until they are delivered to the agreed location, at which point the buyer becomes responsible for the goods. The seller’s obligation includes packaging the goods and clearing them for export.


The phonetics of the keyword Free Carrier (FCA) is: Free – /friː/Carrier – /ˈkerēər/FCA – /ɛf siː eɪ/

Key Takeaways

Here are three main takeaways about Free Carrier (FCA).

  1. Buyer’s Control: In FCA, the buyer has more control over the transportation and shipping costs. Once the goods are delivered to the carrier or the place chosen by the buyer, the risk of loss or damage to the goods is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
  2. Exporter Responsibilities: Under FCA, the exporter is obligated to clear the goods for export, arrange pre-carriage from the exporter’s depot to the named place of delivery, and assume all risks and costs associated with delivering the goods to the named place of delivery.
  3. Import and Export Clearances: FCA is unique in that it requires the seller to take care of export clearance procedures, while the buyer is responsible for import clearance. This shared responsibility distinguishes FCA from many other Incoterms.


Free Carrier (FCA) is a crucial term in business and finance because it denotes a specific type of international trade agreement where the seller takes on the obligation to deliver goods at their specified destination, typically the seller’s facility or a named place. The seller becomes responsible for loading the goods and clearing them for export. The term is key for managing both costs and potential risks in the supply chain process, as the buyer assumes the risks and any additional costs after the delivery. This term is vital in international trade, enabling fair and clear division of responsibilities between sellers and buyers, and often leads to more efficient and effective business transactions.


The purpose of Free Carrier (FCA) in finance and business is to facilitate international trade by clearly defining responsibilities between buyer and seller in the delivery process. Essentially, under FCA terms, it’s the seller’s obligation to deliver the goods to a named place, arranged by the buyer, often a transport hub, carrier or freight forwarder, where the risk and costs associated with the goods are transferred. This provides clarity and ensures a smoother transaction because both parties know their duties. It mitigates the risk of any legal issues that may arise due to misunderstandings about who is responsible for each stage of transport.FCA is used to ensure that the terms of sale are explicit, minimizing the potential for disputes between the parties involved. It can also simplify the process of arranging insurance, as the point at which responsibility for the goods passes is clearly specified by the FCA. Apart from setting explicit responsibilities for transport, FCA is also important because it delineates where liability and costs shift from the seller to the buyer. These predefined conditions ensure a fair business practice and protect the interests of both parties. Additionally, FCA supports compliance with export regulations because the seller is responsible till the goods are loaded at the named place, thus maintaining a good level of control and traceability.


1. International Shipping Business: A company in China is selling and shipping electronic components to a client in the United States. As per the FCA terms, the Chinese company is responsible till the point the goods reach the specified port in China and they have cleared goods for export. From that point onwards, the client in US takes responsibility for transporting, insuring and getting the goods cleared at the customs in US.2. Car Dealership: A car manufacturer in Germany is selling a batch of cars to a dealership in the UK. According to the FCA terms, the German car manufacturer must deliver the cars to a place (possibly a port or a transport depot) in Germany specified by the UK dealership, and also clear the cars for export. Once the cars have been delivered at the specified place, it is the UK dealership’s responsibility to assume the cost and risks associated with transporting them to the UK. 3. Agriculture Export: A coffee producer in Brazil is exporting coffee beans to a coffee shop in Canada. Under FCA terms, the coffee producer is responsible for delivering the beans to a specified inland destination – possibly a rail yard or warehouse – in Brazil, and clearing the export formalities. Once prepared for shipment at the named place, the Canadian coffee shop then takes responsibility, coordinating and paying for all shipping, insurance and importation duties to Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Free Carrier (FCA) mean in finance and business terms?

Free Carrier (FCA) is a trade term requiring the seller to deliver goods at a named airport, terminal, or any place of shipment. The seller is responsible for loading the goods onto the carrier chosen by the buyer.

Who is responsible for the goods under the term FCA?

The seller is responsible for the goods until they are delivered at the specified location, after which the responsibility shifts to the buyer.

Where does FCA apply in the transport chain?

FCA applies at the named place, which can be any point in the transport chain. This could be the seller’s premises, a warehouse, the port of export, or any other named location.

Can FCA be used no matter the mode of transport?

Yes, FCA can be used no matter the mode of transport, including multi-modal transport. This means it applies to transport by road, air, rail, or sea.

Is insurance provided under FCA terms?

No, under FCA terms the seller is not obligated to provide insurance. However, the buyer is free to arrange any necessary insurance.

What happens if the goods are damaged after delivery to the carrier under FCA terms?

Once the goods have been delivered to the carrier, as per FCA terms, the risk transfers to the buyer. If goods are damaged after this point, it is the buyer’s responsibility.

How is the chosen carrier involved in FCA terms?

In FCA terms, the buyer chooses the carrier. The seller is only responsible for loading the goods onto the carrier at the specified place.

What type of documentation is the seller responsible for in FCA?

The seller is responsible for providing the buyer with a document that proves the delivery of goods to the nominated carrier. This is often a bill of lading or airway bill.

Related Finance Terms

  • Incoterms: These are international trade terms that define the responsibilities and obligations of buyers and sellers in the shipment of goods. Free Carrier (FCA) is one of these terms.
  • Delivery Point: This is the location where the seller hands over the goods to the buyer or the carrier. In FCA, the seller is responsible for delivering the goods to this designated place, usually within the seller’s own premises.
  • Freight Forwarder: This is a person or company responsible for organizing shipments for individuals or corporations. Under FCA, the buyer might arrange a freight forwarder for transport of the goods.
  • Transportation Risk: Refers to the risks associated with the transport of goods. Under FCA terms, once the goods are delivered to the carrier or the buyer, the risk transfers from the seller to the buyer.
  • Export Duty/Clearance: These are taxes or legal permissions necessary for shipping goods internationally. In an FCA agreement, the seller is responsible for export clearance.

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