Freight Shipping Cost


Learn how to calculate your freight shipping cost in a few minutes.

What is the freight shipping cost?

Shipping is a considerable expense for any business that needs to transport products from point A to B. With several factors affecting freight shipping costs, calculating the freight shipping cost can get confusing. It is essential to understand what can affect shipping costs and effective ways to save.

The freight shipping cost is the direct cost to ship cargo from one place to another. These rates can vary depending on the transportation mode, materials, freight weight, the value of contents, location, and more.

How to calculate the freight shipping cost?

When calculating the shipping cost, different variables can affect it.

Transportation Mode

One of the main factors that affect the cost of freight shipping is the selected transportation method. There are four modes: ocean freight, truck freight, intermodal rail freight, and air freight.

Ocean Freight is the slowest form of transportation but is the most cost-effective when it comes to international shipping. Ocean Freight is broken into two subcategories full container load (FTL) or less than container load (LTC). Learn more about intermodal shipping here.

Truck Freight is the most common choice in the United States. It is an excellent balance of cost, speed, and capacity. This transportation method has two categories full truckload (FTL) or less than truckload (LTL). Learn more about FTL and LTL here.

Intermodal Rail Freight is an expensive type of bulk freight that uses railroad cars to transport raw materials. Whereas Air Freight is the most expensive way to transport goods; however, it is also the fastest.

Each transportation mode is appropriate for different types of cargo. For example, smaller items or lower quantities may need to be shipped by LTL. The key is to decide which shipping mode is best for your shipment and calculate the shipping costs. To learn more about the different transportation modes click here.

Chargeable weight

The chargeable weight, also known as the billable weight, is substantial when calculating the shipping cost. Chargeable weight can be the cargo’s actual weight or its dimensional weight.

When finding the actual weight, place the cargo on an industrial scale and weigh them. Then, round the actual weight decimals up to the nearest whole pound value, thus finding the actual weight of your cargo.

To find the dimensional weight, do the following. First, measure the cargos length, height, and width in inches, then multiply to find the volume in cubic inches. Then divide the volume by the divisor number provided by the carrier. The resulting number is your dimensional weight.

Once you have determined the actual weight and dimensional weight of your goods, compare the two numbers. The higher number will be the chargeable weight.


One aspect that will affect the price across the industry is location. For example, the further a cargo must move, the more expensive it’s going to be. As a result, many carriers will factor in how close a destination is to major cities or metros since these shipping hubs make transport more manageable and accessible.

The value of contents

When shipping items of high value, it may be in your best interest to obtain shipping insurance. This type of insurance offers reimbursement to the sender if items are lost, stolen, or damaged during transit. However, purchasing shipping insurance for your freight will increase the overall shipping price.

Reduce shipping costs with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider

Outsourcing shipping to a 3PL provider can help reduce shipping costs. PLS Logistics Services is a national 3PL provider that can help businesses meet customer expectations without breaking the bank. To learn more about PLS and how we can help your company utilize our shipping methods, contact us to request a freight quote today.

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