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Shipment Type
Load Port
Discharge Port
Delivery Address Hamburg
Weight 12.561 KG
Volume 00.000 CBM
Shipment Date 20.10.2017
Pickup Address
Pickup Address
Hong-Kong Street 1 12345 House Further Details
Delivery Address
Delivery Address
Hamburg Street 1 12345 House Further Details
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Sea freight:
container shipping

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Calculating Sea Freight Prices and Cargo Charge


In the following guide, we will show you in detail, how to calculate the expenses for your sea freight. You have two possibilities for shipping your cargo: either by FCL (Full Container Load) or by LCL (Less than Container Load).

Freightfinders.com will help you compare forwarding agencies and also help you find the most favourable FCL or LCL transport prices. For this, please use the Freightfinders freight calculator at the beginning of the page. Do you miss a route or a specific port? Provide us with your details and we update our system within 24h and send you a direct quote!


Calculating Prices of FCL Shipments

Calculating the prices of a full container is fairly easy. Most freight forwarders are using fixed prices. Nevertheless, these can vary. You are only restricted to the maximum weight and volume of the container.


Calculating Prices of LCL Shipments

Often, it is not worth booking a whole container. If this is the case, the goods are transported by consolidated containers. This means that cargo from exporters/importers are stored in the same container as well. The transportation expenses will be calculated either by volume or weight of the cargo.


Weight/Mesurement (W/M)

W/M is a common phrase used in logistics. The abbreviation defines, which unit of measurement is used to calculate the transportation costs. To determine the transport expenses of the sea freight, weight and stated measurements of the shipment are needed. Information for the strict calculation can be found in the chapter “Transport Costs”.


Breakpoint Calculation

At some point, LCL shipments are not profitable any longer. This depends on the route and the respective conditions. If that is the case, it is more favourable to book an entire container for oneself. Freightfinders identifies exactly the point at which the other option is more favourable. In contrast to LCL transports, FCL transports ensure time saving and a reduction of the risk of damages. These advantages arise through the lack of handling.


Matter of Expenses for the Calculation of Sea Freight Prices

If you wish to have more information about particular matter of expenses, please click on the respective term.

  • Sea Freight Rates +
  • Terminal Handling Charges +
  • Delivery +
  • Costs of Customs Clearance =
  • Total Costs


Sea Freight Rates

This rate is determined by the respective shipping company and applies for a particular container size and a particular route.
The sea freight rate also includes additional costs, such as fuel surcharge, as well as seasonal and regional surcharges.
These rates are mostly valid for the current month and adjusted regularly to the affected market. Mastering the art of keeping track of this, is what Freightfinders does.


Terminal Handling Charges

Terminal handling charges cover the unloading of the container from the ship to the harbour terminal and also the associated handling. Usually, these charges are the same for various container sizes, which means that, with this cost type, it does not matter, if a 20ft. or a 40ft. container is used. This offers a huge advantage for the 40ft. container shipment, as you can ship high-volume goods (consumer items, furniture, etc.) easily and economically.

Concerning LCL, handled cubic metres or the freight tonnes are calculated. (see Weight/Measurement (W/M)



The container has to be carried from the container terminal to the storage place of the customer. At this point, there exist several opportunities. It can be chosen from lorry, train or barge. Depending on region and urgency, the logistics provider will choose the most convenient mode of transport.

Freightfinders focusses on the price. Hence, the most favourable mode of transport will be chosen. Usually, this will also be the most ecological way, as train and barge are more cost-effective. This is the reason, why this is the more common way of transport in contrast to lorries.


Drop Off Costs

Once the container is unloaded, it has to be brought back either to the harbour or to the inland container depot of the respective forwarding agency. The handling at the depot is usually charged. Some depots accumulate huge numbers of containers, which have to be returned empty. This can be cost- and time-consuming. Smart forwarders use these containers for export, which saves the customer half of the route. This is why many of them are taking containers back free of charge, if they are from regions where exports are more common.


Costs of Customs Clearance

The costs of customs clearance cover all costs during the process of customs clearance. These can vary depending on the country and they have to be taken into account during the course of calculating the sea fright charges. Generally, the costs include:

  • Labour costs
  • Apportion of the Customs’ IT Systems
  • Customs Clearance and Taxes
  • Obtaining of Documents for the respective fiscal voucher

Please take note that only a fraction of the costs is calculated for the effort of the one declaring customs. The most part goes to the state coffers and will be collected directly by customs.

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