Free Carrier - FCA

Loading the player...

What Is 'Free Carrier - FCA'?

Free carrier (FCA) is a trade term designating responsibility to the seller for the delivery of goods to a specific destination. Typically, the destination is a named airport, terminal or other place where the carrier operates. The cost for transportation is included in the price set by the seller, and the risk of loss is assumed by the seller until the goods are delivered to the carrier, at which point the buyer assumes all responsibility.

BREAKING DOWN 'Free Carrier - FCA'

An FCA can be used to describe any transportation point, regardless of the number of transportation modes that may be involved in the shipping process, but it must be a location within the seller’s home country. Once the seller has the goods on premises, the liability transfers from the seller to the carrier or buyer. As part of the liability transfer, the seller is not responsible for unloading the goods, only for delivery to the specified destination. However, the seller may be responsible for ensuring that the goods have properly cleared customs before the shipment may be accepted.

Terms of Sale

Contracts involving international transportation often contain abbreviated trade terms, or terms of sale, that describe specifications such as the time and place of delivery, payment, the point at which the risk of loss shifts from the seller to the buyer and the party responsible for the costs of freight and insurance. The details are highly specific in nature because identifying the exact moment when liabilities and cost responsibilities transfer are key points within the agreement.


The most commonly known trade terms are Incoterms, which are internationally recognized standards published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). These are often identical in form to domestic terms, such as the Uniform Commercial Code, but may have slight differences in their official interpretations. As a result, parties to a contract must expressly indicate the governing law of their terms, and which edition of the published Incoterms are being used.

For 2010, the Incoterms includes ex works, free carrier, carriage paid to, carriage and insurance paid to, delivered at terminal, delivered at place, delivered duty paid, free alongside ship, free on board, cost and freight and cost, insurance and freight.

All terms contained in the Incoterms are legal terms, but the exact definition of the terms may differ by country. Therefore, clarity and specificity when using the terms are particularly critical. It is recommended that any party involved in international trade contact an appropriate legal professional before using any trade term within a contract.