Free Carrier (FCA) is an international trade term used in the Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) to specify the point at which the risk and responsibility for the goods transfer from the seller to the buyer. The Incoterms are a set of standardized terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international trade transactions.

When the term “Free Carrier” is used, it is followed by a named place, typically a location or a carrier’s terminal. The named place represents the point at which the seller fulfills their obligation to deliver the goods, and the buyer takes over the responsibility for transportation and associated costs.

Key features of Free Carrier (FCA) include:

1. **Delivery Point:**
– FCA requires the seller to deliver the goods to a specified location, which can be a place, a terminal, or another point agreed upon by both parties. The named place is crucial, as it defines the point at which risk is transferred.

2. **Risk Transfer:**
– The risk of loss or damage to the goods transfers from the seller to the buyer at the named place. It is essential for both parties to clearly understand when this transfer occurs, as it determines who bears the risk during transportation.

3. **Transportation and Costs:**
– FCA requires the seller to arrange and pay for transportation to the named place. However, once the goods are delivered to that location, the responsibility for transportation, as well as any subsequent costs, shifts to the buyer.

4. **Terminal Handling Charges:**
– If the named place is a terminal, the seller is responsible for the costs associated with delivering the goods to that terminal. However, any terminal handling charges incurred after the delivery point are the responsibility of the buyer.

5. **Documentation:**
– The seller is responsible for providing the necessary export documentation and clearing the goods for export. The buyer assumes responsibility for import customs clearance and related formalities.

6. **Applicability:**
– FCA is a versatile Incoterm that can be used for all modes of transportation, including sea, air, road, and rail. It provides flexibility in determining the delivery point based on the specific requirements of the transaction.

As with any Incoterm, it is crucial for buyers and sellers to clearly define the named place in the sales contract to avoid misunderstandings. The choice of the appropriate Incoterm, including FCA, depends on factors such as the mode of transportation, logistics considerations, and the preferences of the parties involved in the international trade transaction.