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Calculating Freight Costs For International Shipping

Calculating Shipping Freight Costs – Weight and Volume

Calculating freight costs when importing or exporting can be a daunting task. Not only that, but they can also have a considerable impact on the final price of goods that are being transported.

Some of the questions raised when trying to calculate shipping and freight costs are;

  • What goods am I transporting?
  • Which method of shipping will be best?
  • What sort of shipping containers do I need?
  • How much of my goods will fit into a shipping container?
  • How are the freight cost calculations made?

We’ll try to answer some of those questions here.

International Shipping Methods – Post, Couriers, Air and Sea.

As a general rule of thumb, it is worthwhile arranging your own shipping when you are transporting considerable amounts of goods overseas.

The following provides an overview of the methods of shipping and weights when determining freight costs;

  • Less than 30kg – Standard Post is likely to be the best option.
  • 30-100kg – Couriers are able to consolidate smaller shipments which makes them more cost-effective for this range of shipping weights.
  • 100-250kg – Air freight.
  • Over 250kg – Sea freight.

Typically, smaller shipments will attract a premium to the cost of freight (as a per kg rate). Regardless of the shipment size there is always a certain amount of paperwork and time input required. The underlying costs of any shipping are spread out over larger loads.

Freight Costs – Weight vs Volume

When shipping sea freight, the minimum chargeable volume is 1 cubic metre (cbm). The is the equivalent to a box which is 1 metre wide x 1 metre deep x 1 metre tall.

Secondly, whether freight costs are calculated on the weight or the volume will depend upon what is being shipped. For example, 1 cbm of feathers would weigh around about 10kg whereas 1 cbm of metal ingots could easily weight over 1000kg.

Each carrier will have a standard weight to volume baseline that they calculate from, i.e. 1 cbm is equivalent to 186kg. Anything weighing less than this will be calculated by the volume it takes up. Anything over this baseline will be calculated by weight.

A crate of metal ingots would be charged by weight even if they took up only a small volume. Similarly, a container load of pillows and bedding would be charged as a full container volume even though they don’t weigh very much.

When dealing with mixed loads, this can sometimes be used to your advantage by averaging out heavier goods with lighter ones.

Packing Your Shipping Containers

Knowing your goods and having an idea of both their volume and overall weight can help you manage your shipping choices better. You will be able to work out which capacity shipping containers you need as well as pack them more efficiently.

For more information and choices regarding your shipping needs, come and speak with us at SPLS freight forwarding. We can help with all your import and export requirements.