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Explaining Volumetric Weight Billing in Air Cargo

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Our Air freight customers usually go mad when they are charged by volume as against the dead weight of an item. Unfortunately most freight forwarders cannot help with this and why is this? This is because the airline will charge the dead weight or volume weight , whichever is higher.

Take for instance , you have a little van that makes a journey of 20 miles and fits 40 boxes weighing 300kg in total, then you have a van that makes the same journey with 20 boxes that filled the van and weighing 150kg. Assume your billing is in kg and billed at £1/kg x 300kg, you will be looking at £300 for the trip and the other van will be looking at £150 for the same trip. If the cost of running the service will cost about £200 to execute and the profit is £100 at 300kg, then obviously the other van with £150 bill wont be able to make the trip or would be at serious loss. This system also applies to airline billing .

The airline will calculate the length as L X W x H / 6000 = Volumetric weight.  Let us  examine the following ;

Box 1 : Length  = 30cm   Width = 30cm   Height = 45cm   Weight = 25kg | Volume weight = L(30cm) X W(30cm) X H (45cm)  / 6000 = 6.75kg

Actual weight = 25kg       |    Volume weight = 6.75kg.

The actual weight is more than the volume weight, the airline will charge the actual weight in this example :

Box 2 : Length  = 50cm   Width = 50cm   Height = 60cm   Weight = 10kg | Volume weight = L(50cm) X W(50cm) X H (60cm)  / 6000 = 25kg

Actual weight = 10kg       |    Volume weight = 25kg.

The actual weight is less  than the volume weight, the airline will charge the volume  weight in this example :

 To be fair , some  forwarders may be able to make concessions especially in a consolidated shipment with other forwarders or customers, some of the customers may turn up with heavy items that may offset the volumes on the others, some customers may be shipping heavy equipments with small dimensions which will help bring down the overall volume for the forwarder but most of the time it is not always the case.

As a customer, please have it in mind that your shipments may attract volume charge.

How would you prevent a volume charge?

  • Try your best to reduce the size of your goods if possible by joing boxes or bags together, if 2 boxes can fit as one, then that would make that 1 box heavier with a reduced volume.
  • Consider if the item can be freighted by Sea freight groupage , sea freight container may be more flexible and mostly charged on space rather then weight. This would help you get more items into a space and make the most of it . 
  • Contact your freight forwarder for more advice on how to reduce volume before you send the goods.



Last modified on Thursday, 15 February 2024 16:14

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