Air freight cargo: how to calculate shipping?

05 August 2020

Air freight cargo: how to calculate shipping?

In a highly competitive market, people expect companies to be able to offer unique experiences. The level of consumer demand only grows. Do you want an example? Delivering a high-quality product may not be enough if you don’t do it within the established time frame.

Today more than ever, attracting and retaining clients requires meticulous work, focused on each client’s individual demands. In this context, one of the challenges managers face is guaranteeing agility and security in product transportation to the consumer’s home.

If you thought about investing in air freight transport to gain speed in deliveries, know that this can be a great option. This type of modal is perfect for smaller, perishable and valuable products.

Air freight transport is made faster, guaranteeing delivery to clients in a shorter time frame.

Do you want to know more about this modal and understand how to calculate air shipping? Keep on reading the article!


Air freight cargo: know the main rates

When choosing the modal for each type of cargo, it’s important to assess a series of different aspects, such as:

  • Route distance;
  • Cargo damaging risks;
  • Delivery speed;
  • Route flexibility;
  • Cost of service;


In practice, air freight transport is recommended, especially, for perishable goods, shipping of samples, gifts, unaccompanied luggage, spare parts, animals, among others.

Among the main advantages of this modal, we single out, in addition to speed and security, reduced costs with insurance, storage and packaging.

Usually, the price of air shipping consists only of the cost of cargo transportation between airports. That is, this calculation doesn’t include other expenses that occur before receiving the products and after their arrival at the airport of destination.

In Brazil, airlines can freely determine the price of shipping, following the rules of free competition. However, they must observe the maximum rates defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).


So, what are the rates related to air freight cargo?

IATA also determines rates that can be applied by all the airlines. The association calculates rates based on route, traffic and the costs a trip may incur. Check out some of the main types of rates:

General rates

They are used for most cargo, being applied in phases, according to weight ranges:

  • Up to 45 kg;
  • From 45 kg to 100 kg;
  • From 100 kg to 300 kg;
  • From 300 kg to 500 kg;
  • Over 500 kg.

Some airlines have rates for up to 1000 kg. For this kind of rate, the “cubic weight” is taken into account. The higher the cubic weight, the lower the rate.

Minimum rate: it’s applied to small volume products, whose transportation pricing doesn’t reach the minimum established by the calculation of its weight. It’s worth noting that the prices for this rate vary according to the destination region, defined by the airline. In this instance, the rate is not classified by the IATA.


Classified rate: it’s defined according to a percentage added or deducted to the general rate for the air shipping of specific merchandise. These include dangerous products, remains and urns, live animals, newspapers, cultural products, medical equipment. In addition, valuable cargo, estimated in over $ 1000/kg, as determined by the cargo airport, also falls under this rate.


How to calculate shipping prices for air freight transportation?

Now you know the main rates for air freight transportation. The next step is to know how to calculate the shipping price.

In air transport, the calculation basis is obtained from the weight or volume of the merchandise, using the one resulting in the highest value as the parameter for the shipping company.

In order to indicate if it’s necessary to consider the weight or volume to calculate the price, IATA determines the following relation:

IATA Relation (weight/volume): 1 kg = 6000 cm³ or 1 ton 6 m³

Let’s see an example! If a 1 kg merchandise is packed in a volume higher than 6000 cm³, the volume is the basis for calculation. Otherwise, the weight will define the price of transportation.

So, how to find out if the cargo has higher weight or volume?

It’s simple: just divide the total volume of the cargo, found by multiplying the linear measurements, length, width and height, by 6000. Check out the formula:

[(C x L xA)/6000]


Air transport can help you optimize merchandise delivery, meeting deadlines and greatly improving consumer experience. Do you want to know more about the advantages of each modal? Keep following ASIA SHIPPING’s blog!