How to Calculate Air Freight Charges of Garments

Air Freight Charges of Garments:
Without sea freight, the airlines have decided to charge for the heavy merchandise (high-density goods) by weight and lightweight merchandise (low-density goods) by volume. However, airplanes can take less weight than ocean liners, the way they set the standard, in the garment industry, when you ship goods by air, you have a 70% chance to be charged by weight, about 30% chance by volume.

Garments export with air
Fig: Garments export with air

How to Calculate Air Freight Charges of Garments

The followings are the relationship between weight and volume as set by IATA (International air transport association).

  1. From most shipping locations in the Far East to the U.S. destinations and Canada 7000 cubic cm = 1 kilo.
  2. From certain locations in the Far East to the U.S. destinations and Canada 6000 cubic cm = 1kilo.

When you have low-density goods to ship by air, in order to determine if you should try to make the cartons as small as possible to save freight. At first, you should check with the local air forwarding agent by asking him in the country where you are, how many cubic cm is considered 1 kilo in weight. They will tell you either 7000 or 6000. This is the answer you have needed. Then you physically check the weight and measurements of the good s packed for the air shipment.

Now we have the 3 answers as follows, for example: 

  1. The country name Bangladesh and the formula is 6000 cubic cm = 1 kilo
  2. The measurements of the cartons are 50cmX 60cmX 40cm
  3. The gross weight of the cartons is 16 kilo per carton.

Now, let us find out if we should try to make the cartons smaller to save air freight by doing the following calculation, Multiply 50 × 60 × 40 = 120000 cubic cm. 120000 cubic cm divided by 6000 = 20 kilo Now you know, by volume the one carton is of 2 kilos, but by actual weight, the carton is of only 16kilo. You should also know the airline will charge whichever is higher; in this case, they will charge you for 20 kilos, by volume. If the air freight rate is 2.80 per kilo this carton will cost you $56.00. Now, in order to save some money, let us try to make the carton smaller, usually by cutting the height of the carton. Let’s say we have succeeded in cutting down the height by 5 cm, and see how much money we can save.


  1. Original size of the carton: 50 X 60 X 35 cm (=20 kilo)
  2.  Now cut down to 50 X60 X 35 cm= 105000 cubic cm.105000 / 6000 = 17.5 kilo
  3. Now by using the new carton, we have saved 2.5 kilos and this carton will cost only $ 49.00 (17.5Kilo X 2.80).

You may also like: CBM Calculation Method Under LCL Sea Shipment

Auhthor of this Article:
Mayedul Islam
Merchandiser at Fashion Xpress Buying House.
Badda, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Email: [email protected]

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