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Calculating Air Freight Costs by weight or volume?

Given the limited space on airline cargo holds it is an international convention for air freight carriers to charge whichever is greater – weight or volume.  Most of the time you will calculate the weight of the cargo and pay this amount.   However, shipping voluminous items such as plush toys or hollow plastic containers are mostly charged by volume.

Here is the standard calculation for checking air freight rate for your cargo.  This is standard for courier companies in Hong Kong and gives you a good guideline for other markets.  Pay the higher amount of :

  • Actual Weight   OR
  • Package length*Width*height/5000  See below example

Example – shipment of dimensions 30*30*30 will have chargeable weight of 30*30*30/5000 = 5.4 Kgs.

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