Air Freight Cost Calculator: How to Calculate Chargeable Weight and Save

Air Freight Cost Calculator: Easy Step-by-Step Guide with Example


When it comes to getting a quote for air shipping, companies usually give you an all-inclusive air freight rate. This rate covers everything from fuel charges and security fees to airport fees, paperwork, and customs duties. But let’s dive deeper into air freight costs and discuss how they’re calculated, what determines the chargeable weight, and how you can cut down on these expenses.

Air Freight Cost Calculator_Super_International_Shipping_Air_Shipping

How to Calculate Air Freight Costs

Air freight costs are made up of two main components: the basic shipping rate and various additional surcharges.


The price you’ll get quoted for air shipping from China typically varies depending on the weight category your cargo falls into. These categories start at +45KG and go up to +1000KG. If your shipment doesn’t fit neatly into one of these weight brackets, carriers will default to the TACT rate—the standard air freight rate.


Understanding chargeable weight is crucial. It’s the weight that your shipping cost is based on and comes in two flavors: volumetric and gross weight. If your shipment is big but light, the volumetric weight might be greater than the actual weight, and that’s what you’ll be charged for. But if it’s heavier than it is big, then the gross weight is what counts.

How to Calculate Air Freight Costs From China

Calculate Your Air Freight Chargeable Weight Easily

Air freight chargeable weight is key to figuring out your shipping costs. It’s measured in grams and kilograms. Here’s how it works:

Calculate Your Air Freight Chargeable Weight Easily when shipping Air Shipping From China

For Heavy Shipments (High-Density Cargo)


  • In China: A shipment is considered heavy if it’s over 1 kg for every 6,000 cubic centimeters, or over 166.67 kg per cubic meter.
  • Globally: It’s heavy if it’s more than 1 kg per 166 cubic inches.
  • For heavy items, the actual weight is what you’ll pay for.

Billing starts at 0.5 kg. If your cargo is under that, it rounds up to 0.5 kg. If it’s over 0.5 kg but under 1 kg, you’ll be charged for 1 kg.


For Lighter, Bulkier Items (Volume Weight Cargo)

  • In China: Lighter items weigh less than 1 kg per 6,000 cubic centimeters.
  • Globally: They are under 1 kg per 366 cubic inches.
  • For bulky items, the dimensional weight is used to calculate costs.

To find the volume weight, measure the length, width, and height in your preferred unit. Here’s the formula:


Volume weight (kg) = (length x width x height) / 6,000

Real-Life Examples of Calculating Chargeable Weight

Example 1:


A shipment with 10 pallets weighs 1,500 kg and is 18.72 cbm. Each pallet is 120x120x130 cm.

  • Actual weight: 1,500 kg
  • Volume weight: 3,120 kg (because 120x120x130/6,000 is 3,120 kg)

Since volume weight is more, you’ll be charged based on volume weight.

Example 2:


Another shipment of 100 cartons weighs 1,680 kg and is 3 cbm.

  • Actual weight: 1,680 kg
  • Volume weight: 501 kg (3 cbm multiplied by 167 kg)

Here, the actual weight is greater, so it’s considered a heavy cargo and charged by gross weight.

Factors Influencing Air Freight Costs and Tips to Save


Air freight rates can vary due to:

  • Season: Low season often means cheaper rates.
  • Cargo type: High-density is usually less expensive than bulky items.
  • Packing size: Smaller packs can reduce costs.
  • Service Type: Direct flights might cost more than indirect options.


To get a precise quote for your shipment, just provide the cargo weight and other details. Click the button below for quotes Form  from global logistics experts.


Some Words from
our Clients