Don’t worry, you are not alone. Understanding air freight shipping can be a daunting task. We have a few pointers that should help take the guesswork out of air freight shipping.
When shipping by air freight, your air freight providers will be charging their rates based on either dimensional weight or actual weight.
Did we lose you already?
Let’s start with explaining the difference between dimensional weight and actual weight.
- Dimensional weight is a calculation of a theoretical weight of a package that takes into account the length, width and height. It is the product of multiplying these measurements by each other (L x W x H).
- Actual weight is the true weight of a package. When you place a package on a scale, you see the actual weight of that package.
Generally speaking, the decisive factor for calculating the price is whether the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight. You should check with your air freight provider to get their specific criteria.
A quick way to check your shipment is to measure the length, width and height of your unit load in inches. Multiply these three dimensions and then divide by 166 (or 139 for international shipments). If this amount exceeds the actual weight of your unit load then you may be paying air freight charges based on dimensional weight.
For example, a lightweight load that is being exported – pillows, potato chips, ceiling tiles – may only weigh 500 pounds. If that unit load measures 48” x 40” x 50”, then its dimensional weight would be 690 pounds (48 * 40 * 50 / 139). The shipper would then be paying higher air freight rates based on dimensional weight and not actual weight.
This is very important because many companies tend to focus on actual weight when shipping by air freight. Rather, companies should be looking at both actual weight and dimensional weight. Instead of making their unit loads lighter, it may be more beneficial for companies to make their unit loads smaller in size, therefore increasing the density of their goods being shipped.
Recently, the Nelson Company was able to show one of its customers that they could save $40 for every inch that their unit load height was reduced!
Still confused? Don’t worry we are here to help. Leave your questions about air freight shipping below in the comments section and we will get back to you with an answer.
Post by: Rich Reiher, Vice President