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Calculating freight shipping costs is a daunting but essential process for many businesses. To accurately determine your shipping costs, you’ll need to consider modes of shipping, freight classes, transport companies, and countless additional charges.

While there is no single rate for freight shipping, you can estimate freight costs manually or using an online freight rate calculator, as long as you have all the key details regarding the shipment.

Here is a breakdown of the different aspects that affect freight shipping costs.

Modes of Transport

Ocean, truck, and air shipping are the three most common ways to transport freight. Each has its advantages, disadvantages, and costs.

Ocean Freight

Ocean freight is accountable for the majority of international shipping. Although this is one of the slowest ways to transport goods, it is dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Ocean freight containers can carry a tremendous amount of cargo. There aren’t as many restrictions, laws, and regulations surrounding ocean freight as other international shipping modes, which can lead to fewer surcharges.

There are two main types of ocean freight:

  1. Full container load (FCL): cargo loads big enough to fill an entire shipping container.
  2. Less than container load (LCL): a combination of shipments placed into one container. This option is best for shippers who don’t have enough cargo for a full load.

Ocean freight is charged by volume and measured in cubic feet. LCL shipments require more work at every stage of the process and take longer to deliver. Because of this, LCL is more expensive than FCL.

Truck Freight

Truck freight is an essential type of on-land shipping and is a staple in shipping across North America. Like ocean freight, truck freight breaks into two main categories:

  1. Full truckload (FTL): shipment loads large enough to occupy a full truck.
  2. Less than truckload (LTL): a shipment load that is too small to take up an entire truck.

Several factors influence the price of truck freight. The dimensions and weight of each shipment are crucial in estimating shipping rates. The distance between origin and destination also contributes to the cost. Perhaps the most tricky part of calculating a freight quote is establishing the freight classification. FTL and LTL freight classes are determined by value, handling, stowability, density, and liability.

Air Freight

Air is the most expensive of the freight carriers, but it is extremely fast. It is calculated by actual weight or volumetric weight, depending on which is more costly.

The first step is to calculate the volumetric weight by multiplying the volume in cubic meters by 167. If the volumetric weight is greater than the package’s actual weight, this becomes the chargeable weight. However, if the actual weight is greater, you will pay based on it.

freight shipping costs

Freight Classification

The NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) created freight classification to develop a more unified pricing structure for freight shipments.

There are 18 different freight classes categorized between 50 and 500. LTL shipping companies have begun to get more strict with accurately classifying shipments.

Classification is allocated based on the following:

  • Density and value
  • Stowability
  • Handling
  • Liability

Additional Charges

As well as standard freight rates and item classification, there is an abundance of additional charges that can affect costs to ship. The main additional charges by mode of transport are:

  • Ocean Freight Charges
    • Customs security surcharges
    • Freight consolidation
    • Terminal handling
    • Customs brokerage
    • Insurance
    • Accessorial charges (including fuel surcharges)
    • Routing
  • Truck Freight Charges
    • Reclassification
    • Liftgate
    • Limited access
    • Driver load/unload
    • Inside-delivery
    • Fuel surcharges
    • Hazardous materials
    • Truck Ordered Not Used (TONU)
  • Air Freight Charges
    • Fuel surcharges
    • Security surcharges
    • Handling
    • Airport transfers
    • Customs brokerage
    • Pickup and delivery
    • Insurance
    • Accessorial charges

Attention to Detail is Key

Although freight rates are continually fluctuating, it’s possible to get an accurate estimation. The most important factor is gathering all the relevant details before starting your calculations. If you’re having difficulty, get in touch with your shipping company’s customer service.

At Asiana USA, we are delighted to provide a quote or further information about international shipping services. For any more information on freight rates, contact us today at (855) 500-1808.

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