Understanding Air Freight Costs: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses


Calculating Transportation Charges 

When starting to estimate air freight costs, the base transportation rate is the foundation. This rate depends on the weight and dimensions of your shipment, with airlines using volumetric weight calculations to determine it. Be aware that low-density cargo will have higher base rates. 

Taking Fuel Surcharges into Account

Fuel surcharges are additional fees levied by airlines when oil and jet fuel prices rise. During periods of high fuel costs, these surcharges can significantly impact total rates. Some carriers already bake fuel costs into their base rates, so it’s important to inquire about specific airline policies.  

Understanding Airport Handling Charges 

Airport handling fees cover critical logistics like packaging, crating, unloading freight, processing documentation, temporary storage, and loading cargo onto the departing aircraft. Our industry experts have the knowledge to guide you through the process of airport handling charges and break down these costs so you know what to expect.

Accounting for Customs Duties and Taxes

For international air shipments, account for customs duties imposed when crossing borders, and taxes like VAT, GST, or customs clearance fees, which vary by destination. Read our guide on customs clearance best practices to smooth the process.

Insurance and Use of Incoterms Reduce Exposure to Problems

Purchasing insurance protects your cargo from loss or damage. Premiums vary based on shipment value and goods type. When shipping goods around the world, the last thing you can afford is for your shipping label to be misunderstood. That can result in lost shipments for your customers, lost sleep for you, and lost revenue for your company. That’s why it is essential to use Incoterms. Check out our guide to Incoterms.

Getting an Accurate Cost Estimate

To estimate total costs, ask carriers directly for a quote based on cargo details, origin, destination, and dates. While complex at first glance, this guide breaks down the key components so you can plan budgets effectively. Contact us for a customized quote today.

Have a question about your business shipping?

(Please note: We do not ship personal items)