In Free Carrier, the seller/exporter/manufacturer clears the goods for export and delivers them to the carrier specified by the buyer at the “named place of delivery.”
If the named place of delivery is the seller’s place of business, the seller is responsible for loading the goods onto the transport vehicle. If the named place is any other location, such as the loading dock of the carrier, the seller is not responsible for unloading. When using the FCA term, it is advisable to clearly specify in the contracts of sale and carriage the precise point of delivery.
“Carrier” has a special meaning. Technically, a carrier is a firm that itself transports goods or passengers for hire, rather than simply arranging for such transport. Examples are a shipping line, airline, trucking firm, or railway.
In the FCA term, however, the carrier can be any person who by contract “undertakes to perform or procure” such services by any of the above methods of transport including multimodal. Therefore, a person, such as a freight forwarder, can act as a “carrier.” With the FCA term, the buyer nominates the “carrier,” and the seller need only accept the nomination for the term to work.
The FCA term may be used for any mode of transport including multimodal. With FCA, the named place of delivery is domestic to the buyer. The FCA term is often used when making an initial quotation for the sale of goods.