Air Freight Calculation

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Air Freight Calculation


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Air Freight Calculation: Everything You Need to Know

Air freight calculation is often difficult, and the results can be shocking.

Many business owners underestimate the COSTS associated with shipping products to their customers.

In a competitive market, even SMALL MARGINS can be decisive factors. Air transportation Freight is expensive. Even a simple calculation mistake can quickly add up and eat away at profits. 

Today our logistics experts are sharing a comprehensive guide to air freight calculation. So you’ll win your next BUSINESS DEAL, and get the lowest price.

Keep reading!

Air Freight Calculation

What is Actual Weight?

Actual or Gross weight is the Cargo’s overall weight. It includes the pallet and packaging weight as well. It is the weight you give them when you first ask for a price quotation. [Actual weight = Gross weight]

Companies use Scales or a weighing platform to get an accurate reading for Actual weight.

What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is an ESTIMATE of the actual weight of a cargo based on its dimensions. The freight companies calculate volumetric weight using a minimum air cubic conversion factor. This estimated weight of Air freight is also known as dimensional weight.

What is Positional Weight?

ULD readings determine the positional weight (pivot weight). It all comes down to how light an airline allows its ULDs to be. Companies use the positioning weight for non-standard or out-of-gauge goods. That may or may not occupy the whole ULD. The ULD has “dead space” since load piling is not possible. Airlines have set fees when cargo weight exceeds the minimum positioning weight.

How to calculate chargeable weight for air freight?

Chargeable weight is the greater value weight of Cargo. Air freight calculates both Actual and Volumetric weight to determine the chargeable weight. The greater value of the two is fixed as the air freight chargeable weight.

Sometimes heavy weight load of tiny cargo needs LESS SPACE compared to big, light loads of cargo. Thus, the aviation industry has mandated a minimum weight based on cargo density. The basis for their pricing is  “Chargeable Weight.”

Do an accurate weight check on the package before calculating volumetric weight. 

The air freight chargeable weight calculation is the same as the road freight volumetric weight calculation. But here, instead of 5000, the divisor is 6000.

The formula to calculate chargeable weight  in air freight shipments is: 

  • Volumetric Weight/ Dimensional Weight = (Length x Width x Height) x air freight shipment volume/ divisor.
  • Compare with the Actual weight in kilograms.
  • Chosen Chargeable weight = Which is the higher value between the two.

Typically, heavier loads charge actual weight, and light loads charge dimensional weight.

For Example- 

The Actual weight of the Cargo is 40 Kilograms.

Cargo length 80 cm, Height 40 cm, width 80 cm. When shipping goods by airplane, the IATA suggests dividing by 6000. 

Volumetric weight or dimensional Weight = (80 x 40 x 80) / 6000 = 42.67kg = 43 kilograms. (The values are rounded up to the next full unit)

So, the Chargeable weight for air freight is 43 kg. Because the Volumetric weight/ Dimensional weight > Actual Weight. 

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How does DHL/FedEx/UPS/TNT calculate air freight charges?

How does DHL/FedEx/UPS/TNT calculate air freight charges

DHL Air Freight Charge:

The formula: ( ( L x W x H, in cm) / 6,000 ) x number of packages

The shipment consists of 3 boxes.

Shipment measurement = Length = 100 m, Width = 38.58 m, Height = 41 m.

Dimensional Weight = ( (100 x 70 x 40) / 6,000 ) x 3 = 140kg. 

Actual Gross Weight of the cargo = (30kg x 3)= 90kg

So, DHL Air freight Chargeable weight = 140 kg.

FedEx Air Freight Charge:

For International Cargo Shipment- ( ( L x W x H, in cm) / 6,000 ) x number of packages 

For Domestic Cargo Shipment- ( ( L x W x H, in cm) / 7,000 ) x number of packages

UPS Air Freight Charge: 

Volumetric or dimensional weight = ( ( L x W x H, in cm) / 6,000 ) x number of packages 

Or ( ( L x W x H, in cm) / /5000) depending on certain import/country criteria.

TNT Air Freight Charge: 

Express services- ((L x W x H in m) x 200)

Economy services- (L x W x H in m) x 250)

[Note: The carriers may alter the divisors at any time. To learn more, check out their Website]

Air freight calculation examples 

Air freight calculation examples 

Example1 – Volumetric Weight is Greater than Actual Weight:

XYZ Company ships 4 cargo boxes, each weighing 20kgs, from New York to Shanghai. Measuring of volume weight = 80 cm x 40 cm x 80 cm

Actual total Weight = 4boxes x 20 kgs each = 80 kgs

Volumetric or dimensional Weight in kgs= (80 x 40 x 80cm) x 4 boxes / 6000 = 170.67 kgs = 171 kgs. 

So, the volumetric Weight is 171 kg is greater than the Actual weight of 80 kg. So, the Chargeable Weight of the air shipment is 171 kg. 

Example2 – Actual Weight is Greater than Volume Weight:

XYZ Company ships 3 cargo boxes, each weighing 40kgs from New York to Shanghai. Measuring of volume weight = 80 x 30 x 80 cms 

Actual Weight = 3 boxes x 40kgs each = 120 kgs

Volumetric Weight = (80 x 30 x 80cm) x 3 boxes / 6000 = 96kgs

So, the Actual Weight is 120 kg is greater than the volumetric weight of 96 kg. So, the air freight Chargeable Weight is 120 kg.

Example3 – Freight Weight calculation in inches 

XYZ Company ships 3 cargo boxes, each weighing 40kgs from New York to Shanghai. Measuring of volume weight = 18.465 x 14.465 x 18.465 inches. 

Actual Weight = 3 boxes x 40kgs each = 120 kgs

Here the cubic inch result divisor is 366.

Volumetric Weight in kgs using inches = (19 x 15 x 19) x 3 boxes / 366 = 45kgs

So, the Actual Weight is 120 kg, greater than the volumetric weight of 45 kg. So, the Chargeable Weight is 120 kg.

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FAQs about Air Freight Calculation

What is the maximum size for air freight?

The maximum allowable dimensions for goods flying through ordinary air freight are-
• 2.44 meters in Length.
• 3.15 meters in width.
• That is (96 x 125 in)
Cargo that is broader than standard dimensions can carry through special packing. Charter services may be necessary for oversized freight.

What are the 3 main types of Cargo carried by air?

1. General Cargo:
Cargo that doesn’t need any SPECIAL CONTROL is known as general Cargo. Examples- Clothing, books, shoes, computers and computer components, etc.

2. Special Cargo:
There is an extra charge for air freight due to the special nature of this shipment. Some of the special Cargo is-
• Live Animal Cargo
• Hazardous Cargo
• Temperature Controlled Cargo

3. Mortal Remains, Including Tissues and Organs
Special care and packing are required when transporting human remains and tissue. The cost of transporting such things is higher than that of regular Cargo. 

How is CBM calculated?

Multiplying a package’s Length, width, and Height yields a cubic meter measurement. For example 
• The dimensions of a shipment are 3.40 meters in Length, 
• 1.60 meters in Height and 3 meters in breadth, 
• Then the cubic meterage of the shipment would be 3.40 * 1.60 * 3.00 = 16.32 CBM. 

What’s Next

Now you understand the air freight calculation formula and how it works. This post explains all the important details about air freight calculation. Use the formula to get the best freight cost and deal for your shipment.

Knowing these details helps you make the BEST choices when choosing the BEST package.

If you want to move goods quickly, consider hiring an Air Freight Service provider. LEELINE freight forwarder helps you with all your air freight needs. 

Contact us! We even assist with transportation from the airport to the warehouse.

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Sharline leeline founder

Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing and shipping in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing and shipping , pls feel free to contact us.

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