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Chargeable Weight for Air Freight Shipments – A Complete Guide

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

May 1, 2024

6 min read

If you are planning to ship your goods by air, then understanding all the expenses involved in the process is imperative. This helps in planning the shipping budget to avoid financial strain at a later stage. 

The air freight volume in February 2023 was 7% lower in chargeable weight than in 2019. While rates have decreased year over year, they have not decreased from pre-pandemic levels.

To calculate the total shipping expenditure, you must first learn the chargeable weight for air freight shipments among other things. This article discusses what chargeable weight is, how it is calculated for air freight shipments and the common mistakes to avoid while making the computation.

Chargeable Weight for Air Freight Shipments

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Chargeable Weight

You must have heard about the terms, volumetric weight, dimensional weight and gross weight. Chargeable weight for air freight shipments should not be confused with any of these. It is the quantified weight of the shipment. As the term suggests, the carrier charges for the air freight based on this weight. In case the gross weight is higher, then it becomes the chargeable weight. On the other hand, air freight is billed according to its volumetric weight if it is greater in comparison.

Here is a step-by-step guide to calculating the chargeable weight for air freight shipments:

Step 1:

The first step in the process is to calculate the gross weight of the cargo. This is the weight that you get on the scale.

Step 2:

Next, compute the cargo volume in cubic metres. This computation is crucial for determining the air freight’s volumetric weight.

Step 3:

The third step in the process is to calculate the volumetric or dimensional weight of the cargo. For this, you have to multiply the volume of the cargo by the constant for volumetric weight. As per air freight mode, one cubic metre is equivalent to 167 kilograms. 

The formula to calculate the dimensional weight = (L*W*H)*167

To calculate the air freight volumetric weight, the volume should be in cubic metres.

 Step 4:

Now, compare the gross weight of air freight with its volumetric weight. The chargeable weight will be the one that is higher among the two.  

Examples of Chargeable Weight Calculation

Let us understand the steps to calculate the chargeable weight for air freight shipments with the help of a few examples.

Example 1:

Let’s say, you have to ship a box of medicines which has the following weight and dimensions:

Dimensions: Length – 50 cm, Height – 40 cm, Width – 20 cm

Weight: 20 kg

  • Step 1

Start by calculating the gross weight of the box. Weigh it on a scale to determine the value. In this case, as already mentioned, its weight is 20 kg. 

  • Step 2

Next, determine the value of the cargo volume in cubic metres. Here’s how to calculate.

In centimetres, the volume of your box equals 50 cm*40 cm*20 cm

This implies it is, .5 m *.4 m* .2 m

This will be, .5 m *.4 m* .2 m = 0.04 cubic metre

Thus, 0.04 is the total volume of the shipment.

  • Step 3

Next, you are required to determine the volumetric or dimensional weight of the cargo.

For this, multiply the cargo volume by the constant for volumetric weight which is 167.

This will be 167* 0.04 = 6.68 kg

  • Step 4

As mentioned earlier, the fourth step involves comparing the gross weight of an air freight shipment with its volumetric weight.

The gross weight of the cargo shipment = 20 kg

The volumetric weight of the cargo shipment = 6.68 kg

Since the gross weight of the shipment is higher than the volumetric weight, the former will be considered as its chargeable weight.

Thus, the chargeable weight for air freight shipment is 20 kg.

Example 2

For instance, a box full of garments with the following dimensions and weight needs to be shipped:

Dimensions: Length – 80 cm, Height – 90 cm, Width – 50 cm

Weight: 50 kg

  • Step 1

Weigh the box on the weighing scale to know its gross weight. In this case, the weight is 20 kg.

  • Step 2

Next, calculate the volume of the cargo in cubic metres. Here’s how:

  1. In centimetres, its volume equals 80 cm*90 cm*50 cm
  2. This implies it is, .8 m *.9 m* .5 m
  3. This will be, .8 m *.9 m* .5 m = 0.36 cubic metre
  4. Thus, 0.36 cubic metres is the total volume of the shipment.
  • Step 3

Next, determine the volumetric or dimensional weight of the cargo by multiplying its volume by 167 ( the constant for volumetric weight)

This will be 167* 0.36 = 60.12 kg

  • Step 4

Now, compare the gross weight of the shipment with its volumetric weight. 

  1. The gross weight of the air freight shipment = 50 kg
  2. The volumetric weight of the air freight shipment = 60.12 kg

Since the gross weight of the shipment is lesser than its volumetric weight, the latter will be considered as its chargeable weight.

Thus, the chargeable weight for air freight shipment is 60.12 kg.

Factors Affecting Chargeable Weight in Air Freight

A shipment’s size largely determines the amount of space it shall occupy in the flight. The dimensions of the shipment are thus given high value while calculating the chargeable weight for air freight shipments. A shipment’s dimensions determine its volumetric weight and affect the chargeable weight of air freight. Its actual weight also affects the amount charged for shipping it.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Calculating Chargeable Weight

Shippers often make certain mistakes while calculating the chargeable weight for air freight shipments. This can lead to wrong declaration of chargeable weight which may cause trouble at a later stage. To avoid this, you must learn the precise formula for calculating the volumetric weight and use it to derive the correct figures. It is suggested to use minimal-weight cartons for small shipments to avoid adding dimensions and increasing the overall weight. Moreover, do not overlook the importance of weighing the shipment carefully to know its actual weight. Even a small mistake can lead to wrong calculation.

Conclusion

Air freight is becoming popular among businesses as it ensures quick and safe delivery of goods around the world. Statistics reveal that air freight accounts for 1% of the total world trade of cargo by volume. Air cargo is especially used to transport high-value goods, perishable items and goods that require a temperature-controlled environment. While the cost involved in shipping your goods varies based on its category, it is largely dependent on the weight of the shipment. The gross weight and volumetric weight of the shipment are compared and whichever is higher among them becomes the chargeable weight for air freight shipment. Air freight shipping can be a costly affair, but finding the right service provider is the key to getting excellent service at reasonable prices. Businesses can partner with a reliable logistics service like CargoX to ensure smooth and cost-effective international air cargo shipping of their consignments. They don’t put any weight limitations on shipments.

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