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The cost of shipping freight can be challenging to determine, especially given the many factors involved. How your cargo is shipped, the size of your shipment, and where it goes all impact your final cost.

The good news is there are freight rate calculators available that help you estimate this potential cost. There are ways you can use these cost calculators effectively by carefully planning your shipment and examining all necessary factors.

Find the Shipment’s Dimensional Weight

Knowing your shipment’s dimensional weight, which is your shipment’s dimensions and weight, is crucial to estimating your freight shipping cost.

Dimensional weight determines how much space a shipment will use. For example, in FTL or LTL freight shipment, shipping cost is based on the physical area a load uses. The weight of the goods determines how many other products the truck can transport. If a partial truckload only takes up half a truck, but it’s so heavy that the vehicle can’t handle any more weight, that affects your bottom line.

Companies use the dimensional weight to find a shipment’s density, which is integral for finding your shipment’s freight class.

Freight Classification

While density is essential to determine the cost, it’s just one factor in finding your freight classification shipment. The other elements are the stowability, handling, and liability of your shipment.

Density (or pounds per cubic feet) is a primary consideration for freight class. Higher density typically means a lower freight class and lower cost.

Stowability and handling are similar; they refer to how simple your shipment is to stow on the truck and load or unload. For instance, oddly-shaped shipments like live vegetation decrease the stowability, as well as products that need refrigeration. For handling, shipments may need to be loaded and unloaded several times, so freight that requires equipment or complex maneuvering might translate to a higher cost.

Liability refers to the nature and type of your shipment, and whether it can impact other items in cargo. Hazardous materials and fragile freight are prime examples since they can endanger accompanying articles or be easily damaged. If your goods require special accommodations, it can raise the cost, especially since high-liability items can also be more difficult to stow and handle.

The standard used to determine your shipment’s freight class based on these factors is the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, which includes 18 different classes. This resource can help give you a better idea of which classification your shipment may belong to, which allows you better estimate cost.

Origin and Destination

For a few reasons, it matters where your shipment comes from and where it’s going. The most obvious is that it usually costs more to ship longer distances.

Distance also depends on a few factors. It determines what modes of transportation you can utilize, such as truck, ocean, or air. Length of travel affects price, since faster methods of shipping generally cost more.

Zip code calculators can give you a more accurate estimate for domestic transit, helping you narrow down how specific pickup and delivery zip codes can affect cost.

It’s also important to consider that international shipping can raise costs, such as additional taxes, customs fees, and storage fees.

Extra Services

Don’t forget about any extra shipping services. Aspects like fuel surcharges for LTL shipments, whether your delivery requires a liftgate, and expedited shipping can be hidden factors that increase overall cost when it comes to domestic and global logistics.

Final Thoughts

Taking these factors into account can give you a reliable cost estimate of your shipment when calculating freight. However, keep in mind that these are only a few factors, and the most accurate freight cost estimations often depend on many other considerations.

At Asiana USA, we are trusted leaders in shipping and global logistics. For a free freight quote and information on how we can help you estimate your shipping cost, contact us at (855) 500-1808.

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