How to calculate shipping costs 

Since we’ve known how to find products in 1688 and ship them to the US, it’s imperative to find out further information related to imputed freight. There are four different ways to calculate prices on cross-border transport. Do you want to know more? Follow me to make it clear.

1. Dedicated line packets cost

First of all, we need to catch on to what is a dedicated line packet. International dedicated line packets, also known as international small parcels, refer to small parcels that weigh less than two kilograms, the sum of the length, width and height of the outer package is less than 90 cm, and the longest side is less than 60 cm, which are sent abroad by postal air mail service.

process: dispatch goods by sellers — collection and receipt of parcels — domestic warehouse check-in/check-out — air direct flight — customs clearance — USPS delivery — customers signature.

Time effect: by air direct fixed flight: 2-3 business days; USPS local delivery: 3-5 business days; the US dedicated line packet: 7-10 business days

Target customers: provide domestic delivery or drop shipping (overseas warehouse), virtual overseas warehouse delivery mode for self-operated cross-border e-commerce platforms such as Amoazon, EBAY, WISH, Alibaba, AliExpress and so on.

Here is the international charge standard:

Ordinary airmail (non-registered) mail: nearly $13/kg

Registered mail: $17/kg.

More specifically, international parcels have different charging standards in different countries. If you want to learn more, just search for them online. Here are some examples:


Japan: $9.6/kg. Singapore, India, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries: $11.07/kg.


Argentina, Brazil, Mexico: $17.02/kg. The United States and Canada: $14/kg. Peru and Chile: $18.57/kg.


Furthermore, the price of international parcel logistics service still includes postage, handling fee, registration fee and insurance fee.

International parcel postage is charged according to the weight of the package.

The postage is charged based on the actual weight of the package, excluding the first weight and additional weight. At the same time, corresponding price concessions can be enjoyed according to the shipment volume.

According to the number of parcels delivered each time, the handling fee for each piece is $0.0-0.624.

Besides, if you choose to send in registered, the registration fee for each mail is about $2.0.

What’s more, it’s suggested to purchase an insurance service of approximately $1.2/piece for registered items if you want to make sure of its safety and security.

2. International Express

2.1 Determine which international express to send.

Before approaching this part, I’ll share with you some common sense to pave the way for the following.

The five giants in the express industry

Express Mail Service (EMS) is an international express postal service offered by postal-administration members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which provides postal services worldwide.

DHL:Domestic & Worldwide Shipping for E-commerce

DHL International Express is a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, a world-renowned postal and logistics group. DHL’s business covers 220 countries and regions around the world, and it is the most internationalized company in the world.

FedEx is an international express group that provides overnight express, ground express, heavy cargo delivery, document copying and logistics services. It is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, and is part of FedEx Corp.

UPS (United Parcel Service, Inc.) was established in 1907 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a leading global logistics company that provides services such as parcel and cargo transportation, international trade, and advanced technology deployment.

Among them, DHL can be subdivided into DHL in Mainland China and DHL in Hong Kong.

UPS and Fedex can also be subdivided into South China price and non-South China price

Generally speaking, international express mainly includes freight, fuel surcharge and other expenses.

Note: There is no fuel surcharge for EMS.

2.2 International express charging unit

The billing units of the five major international express companies are all kilograms (KG). DHL, UPS, FEDEX, TNT are generally charged according to the procedure below 21KG, that is, the first total cost = heavy cost + additional cost. The smallest unit of chargeable weight is 0.5KG. If it is less than 0.5KG, it will be charged at 0.5KG. If it exceeds 0.5KG but not more than 1KG, it will be charged at 1KG.

2.3 Chargeable weight

The larger weight will be taken between actual weight and volume weight. But how to clarify them? Consider the following tips:

  • Actual weight: the actual total weight of the package, including packaging, also known as real weight.
  • Volume weight: When the volume of the cargo is large and the actual weight is light, the weight taken to convert the volume of the cargo into weight is called volume weight or volume, for the volume of the cargo is limited by the carrying capacity of the vehicle.

Let’s make a very simple metaphor, shipping 1kg metal is definitely more expensive than shipping 1kg uncompressed cutton.

For volume weight, the usual calculation method is: volume weight (kg)= length (cm)× width (cm)× height (cm)/5000. In practical, the specific calculation method of different express delivery will be different.

The general freight calculation method is: first weight freight +(weight (kg)× 2-1)× additional freight. Usually the first 0.5KG is the first weight, and each additional 0.5KG is a continuous weight.

2.4 Additional charge

Actually, apart from the standard freight, the specific fee will also include a variety of surcharges, such as: fuel surcharge, remote charges, custom clearance fee and packing expenses etc.

● Fuel surcharge:

The fuel surcharge is set according to the price of the international crude oil market, and is updated on the official website of each express company every month

● Remote charges.

● Customs clearance fee.

● Packing expenses.


Anyway, total fee = (Freight + fuel surcharge + remote fee)× Discount + packing fee + other fees

3. Air freight costs

In fact, small batches of goods less than 45 kg are generally sent by international express, while large batches of goods larger than 45 kg are generally sent by international air.

Besides, airline transportation is mainly transported by major airlines and freight companies, such as Singapore Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Northwest Airlines, etc.

International air freight price composition and calculation of international air freight.

International air freight price composition:

  • Air freight: charged by the air freight logistics companies.
  • Fuel surcharge: the price can fluctuate according to different destinations and airports.
  • Security check fee & airport operating fee: charged at the Airport.
  • Air master bill fee (HKD15/bl is the cost of bill of lading-proof of title.


International air freight calculation:

Furthermore, there are two weights when calculating, namely, chargeable weight and actual weight (gross weight) and the bigger one is taken to charge. The international air volumetric weight calculation method is as follows:

Regular items: length (cm) × width (cm) × height (cm) ÷ 6000 = weight (KG)

Irregular items: the longest (cm) × the widest (cm) × the highest (cm) ÷ 6000 = weight (KG)

Then calculate it according to the freight calculation method: first freight + (weight (kg) × 2-1) × additional freight

In addition, if the mantissa is between 0.1kg and 0.5kg, it should be rounded to 0.5kg. For example, if the gross weight of the goods is 30.1KG, it should be counted as 30.5KG.

While if the mantissa is between 0.5kg and 1kg, then it should be rounded up to 1kg. For example, if the gross weight of the goods is 30.7KG, it should be counted as 31KG. When the cargo weight of each air waybill is less than 1 kg, it shall be calculated as 1 kg.

4. Ocean freight shipping costs

How to calculate ocean freight from China to the US?

From China to the United States, the destination ports of arrival are divided into E.C(East Coast)and W.C(West Coast).

Also, the routes of sea transport are correspondingly different. It takes 13 to 16 business days by flier to depart from the Chinese port to the W.C, and it will take more time by tardy. Still, if you arrive at the E.C, the time is about 30-40 business days.

Moreover, the U.S. shipping quotation includes a lot of content, and it cannot be explained clearly with a simple quotation. The main factors that affect the shipping quotation are: volume, weight, origin of the product, shipping channel, customs declaration fees, customs clearance fees, etc.

In the calculation of international sea shipping trade costs, freight is generally charged in two ways: FCL and LCL. As for more details of FCL & LCL, please click on the link below to learn more.

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➢ FCL(full container load)

The freight unit for FCL is the number of containers. The effective volume of a 20′ container is 25CBM and the weight limit is 17.5TNE. The effective volume of a 40′ container is 55CBM and the weight limit is 26TNE. All have limited weight, and overweight shipowners need to charge an overweight fee.) Except for special containers and special cargo.

The number of full containers is the unit of freight.

Cost composition: loading and haulage fee + terminal operation fee + freight + unloading terminal operation fee + haulage fee

➢ LCL(less container load)

LCL refers to cargos of several or more shippers being loaded in a container, also called bulk cargo.

There are two billing methods for LCL: weight billing and volume billing. Cost composition: haulage fee provided by the shipping company + terminal operation fee + freight + De-vanning fee.

1. Volume charge = unit basic freight (MTQ) × total volume

2. Weight charge = unit basic freight (TNE) × total gross weight

Here are two examples to caculate freight:

For example: commodity (mountain cycling) is to be exported from Shenzhen to America Los Angeles. Try to calculate the ocean freight for the transaction volume of 1,500 vehicles and 2,488vehicles respectively.

Step 1: Calculate the product volume and weight

In the “product display” of “B2B”, the volume of the product was found to be 0.0768 CBM per container, gross weight per container 21 KGS, and 8 vehicles per container. According to the product information found, first calculate the product volume.

Quotation quantity is 1500

Total number of packing boxes=1500÷8=187.5, round up to 188 containers, total volume=188×0.0768=14.5CBM

Total gross weight=1500÷8×21=3937.5KGS=3.94TNE

Quotation quantity is 2488

Total number of packing boxes = 2488÷8=311, total volume=311×0.0768=23.885CBM

Total gross weight=2488÷8×21=6531KGS=6.531TNE

Step 2: Check the freight rate

For example, it is found that the basic freight to Los Angeles is: USD3180 per 20′ container, USD4320 per 40′ container, USD162 per volume ton (MTQ), USD223 per tonne (TNE); the port surcharge is: USD128 per 20′ container, USD168 per 40′ container;

Fuel surcharge is: USD156 per 20′ container and USD209 per 40′ container; According to the results calculated in step 1, compare the container specifications (as stated in the freight calculation basis, the effective volume of a 20′ container is 25CBM, and the weight limit is 17.5TNE, and the effective volume of a 40′ container is 55CBM and the weight limit is 26TNE. ( 1TNE=1000KGS), the freight of 1500 vehicles should be LCL, and the ocean freight of 2488 vehicles should be 20′ containers.

1. The quoted quantity is 1500,

Volume freight = 14.5 × 162(MTQ) = 2349 (USD)

Weight freight = 3.94 × 223(TNE) = 878.62 (USD)

Compared to the two, the volume freight is larger, and the shipping company charges the larger one, then the total freight is USD2349

2. The quoted quantity is 2488 pieces. Since the volume and weight do not exceed the volume and weight limit of a 20′ container, it is sufficient to install a 20′ container

Total freight = 3180+128+156

= 3464 (USD)

Refer to:

1. Volume charge = unit basic freight (MTQ) × total volume

2. Weight charge = unit basic freight (TNE) × total gross weight


When calculating ocean freight, the exporter must first calculate the volume of the product based on the quoted quantity, and then find the freight rate corresponding to the destination port of the shipment.

If the quoted quantity is just enough to fit the full container (20′ container or 40′ container), then the freight rate will be directly used as the basic freight.

If it is not enough to fit the full container, use the total volume of the product (or the total weight, the larger will be taken) ×LCL price to calculate sea freight.

Case: A company wants to send a 22kg parcel of general cargo from Guangdong to the United States. How much is the total shipping cost?

Answer: The company chooses a courier company A, the first weight is 0.5 kg 250 yuan, the additional weight 0.5 kg/65 yuan, the fuel surcharge is 13%, and the discount is 25%.

The calculation is as follows:

Freight=250+(22×2-1) ×65=3045 yuan(=$471.9)

Total cost=3045×(1+13%)×(1- 25%)=2580.7 yuan(=$400)

(Refer to the formula: first freight + (weight (kg) × 2-1) × additional freight)

In addition, some express companies have special preferential prices for some routes. For example, when it exceeds 21 kg, it can be charged at a specific flat price. For the above example, this express company can give a price of 65 yuan per kilogram: the corresponding total cost = 22 × 65 × (1 + 13%) = 1615.9 yuan(=$250.4)

Well, this is what we have today. Sincerely, I am looking forward to your progress in price calculation. The price calculation is a bit complicated, and you need to put more patience on it. Also, if you have any questions, please leave a message and let us know. Best wishes to you!

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