Transport costs calculator • Find cheap freight prices (2024)

Sea freight • Air freight • Truck • Train

In this article, we at Freightfinders want to show you, how freight costs can be calculated for different transport modes and how we will help you to find cheap prices. Find out, how the costs for your transport are calculated by clicking on the button for your mode of transport.

We have created a short overview for you. With only one click, you can skip to the respective paragraph. A detailed overview can be found in the column on the left-hand side.

Transport cost calculator

  • To the information articles:
    • Sea freight cost calculation
    • Air freight cost claculation
    • Truck transport calculation
    • Train transport calculation

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Calculating freight costs for all transport modes

Calculate prices for all common means of transport. There are various factors that have to be considered to be able to calculate the transport costs correctly. Besides of the costs for e.g. the container or customs clearance, most costs differ from one transport mode to another.
Depending on the means of transport, there are different freight rates, which influence the price. The frequency of the routes and the extra charges, such as e.g. fuel, as well as the different transport procedures have a great impact.

Information Articles - transport calculation

Calculate sea freight costs & sea freight prices

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).

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.

Calculate air freight costs & air freight prices

In the following article, you will find information on the single factors, influencing the calculation of air freight charges. This guide will give you a transparent insight in the break of costs.

Air freight costs – cheap air freight companies for international routes

With Freightfinders you will find cheap prices for air freight forwarders and international routes. The air freight rates are usually fixed anew every day. Normally, there are standardised prices for goods with a weight up to 100kg – from 100kg upwards, the costs are individually calculated. Exactly this often complicated step is fully automated by our configurator, which hastens the process of calculating air freight costs considerably.

Here is the break of costs for air freight shipping:

  • Air freight rates+
  • Airport costs+
  • Delivery+
  • Customs clearance charges=
  • Total air freight charges

As the calculation of the air freight charges is not defined by using the actual weight of the goods, it is important to look at the dimensional weight.

Dimensional weight air freight

As already mentioned, the air freight charges are not calculated with the actual weight of the goods. Here, the dimensional weight is used to gain more standardised prices. The so called chargeable weight, which had been introduced by the IATA (International Air Transport Association), will be compared to the actual weight. The higher figure will then be applied against the air freight rate.

The dimensional weight in kilograms will be calculated by dividing the volume (length x width x height – given in cm) by an air freight company’s divisor. This divisor is not fixed, but usually the companies are using either 5000 or 6000 to calculate the air freight rates.

Air freight rates

The air freight rates are usually fixed by the air freight companies and are calculated per kilograms. The rate is depending on various factors, such as e.g. how long the route is, or if the route is frequently used. It can happen that a short distance flight can be more expensive than a long distance one, as it is maybe not frequently used. This means that the demand is important for the calculation of air freight charges, as well. Moreover, it is also considered, if the aircraft is loaded fully.

With Freightfinders’ fully automated configurator, all these processes are working fast in the background, so that you can get your sea freight costs in only a short matter of time.

Airport costs

Even though there are also aircraftsshipping goods by only one client, usually, the plane is loaded with goods by more than one client. This is why there are also costs at the airport for the handling. The air freight cargo has to be unloaded and distributed quickly, so that it can be delivered fast to their destinations.

Delivery costs for air freight

The air freight cargo, which is mostly transported on pallets, has to be handled and loaded at the airport terminal to be transported to the client later on. There are various options for the further transport, such as the vessel, train, or truck. The destination, as well as the urgency decide, which means of transport will be chosen by the forwarders. Still, Freightfinders will keep your air freight charges as low as possible and find the most efficient transport type.

Customs clearance charges

The charges for customs clearance contain all costs arising during the process of clearing your air freight cargo. Not only the administrative costs influence the costs, but especially the goods and the countries, you are exporting to. To not increase the air freight charges, one should make sure to declare the goods properly. Therefore, it is usually best, to use the services of a customs broker, who will help you, avoid additional charges and delays of the transport.

You can cover the service of our experienced customs broker over our platform to enjoy a smooth and cheap air freight transport.

Calculate truck-transport costs & truck transport prices

Mit Freightfinders können Sie Ihre LKW Frachtkosten berechnen und von günstigen Preisen profitieren. Erfahren Sie in diesem Artikel, wie sich die Kosten für Ihre LKW Fracht zusammensetzen.

Trucking charge for FTL and LTL shippings

To get your truck transport costs, you have to decide, how to transport your goods. You have the possibility of FTL and LTL trucking, which are the equivalents of FCL and LCL containers. This means that you can load exclusively your goods, or share the space with another client.

FTL freight is usually more expensive, but therefore offers more space. Moreover, the goods are protected better, which makes the transport more safe and therefore does not have a negative effect on your truck transport costs. LTL shipping is by contrast a little cheaper. The stowage space is shared, which cuts the costs for you, as well.

We can calculate, which is the cheaper option for your truck transport costs by using the breakpoint calculation.

Breakpoint Calculation

The breakpoint calculation ascertains the exact value which determines, which is the more favourable option – FTL or LTL, since a whole container is not necessarily more expensive than a consolidated container. Hence, we can help you, keeping your truck freight charge as low as possible.

Calculating truck transport costs

The truck transport costs calculation consists of various expense factors. When inquiring the price, however, you will most likely get one price, which includes all the following steps during the transport and its expenses. To get an insight in the truck transport costs calculation, we have compiled a list with the single steps:

  • Truck freight rates+
  • Pick Up+
  • Handling+
  • Main leg+
  • Delivery+
  • Customs clearance=
  • Gesamtkosten LKW Transport

Truck freight rates

The truck freight rates are fixed by the trucking companies and are adjusted regularly to the market. They are depending on the route and demand. This means that routes that are frequently used are more likely to be cheaper than routes that are rarely used. Hence, the truck freight rate is an important factor in calculating the transport costs.


Usually, the goods are being picked-up right from the customer and brought to a storing place. This means that the drive to the client and back have to be considered – including e.g. the staff costs, fuel, and toll. All these factors have an effect on the truck transport costs.


If general cargo is being shipped, it will be brought to a storage place and handled there. The goods will be sorted by route and urgency, so that your and other goods can be loaded onto the right truck. Here, staff costs have to be considered, as this process of handling has to be planned and executed. When shipping a whole container, this handling does not take place and the truck will bring the goods directly to their destination.

Main leg

The main leg is the actual transport. The costs for this and therefore the total truck shipping rates are mainly calculated with the costs of the route and the incidental expenses, such as e.g. fuel, toll, regional and seasonal surcharges. Hence, the price is depending on the market and the respective trucking company.


At the destination storage place, the goods have to be handled again to be carried to the actual destination. The costs for this are compiled of the handling, the transport to the client and the drive back.

Customs clearance

Customs clearance is also important for road transport. The costs for this and therefore for the overall truck transport costs consist of duty, tax, staff costs and of creating documents. To keep the costs as planned, you should make sure, your goods are being declared properly and thoroughly. To be on the safe side, you can use the service of our highly experienced customs agent.

Calculate rail freight transport costs & train freight prices

With Freightfinders, you can find cheap rail freight charges easy and fast. To make these costs transparent for you, we have collected information about how the costs for a rail freight transport are calculated. Send us an inquiry for an individual offer via our contact form and we will find cheap rail freight charges for you.

Rail freight prices for FCL and LCL shipments

When choosing rail freight transports, you have the possibility of shipping your goods in FCL or LCL containers. If you wish to load a whole container only with your goods, the price is relatively easy to calculate, as most rail freight companies charge fixed prices for this type of container – no matter, how big or heavy your cargo is. In some cases, you do not even have to fill the container completely for this type to pay off.

With a LCL container you can easily ship general cargo at a cheap rail freight quote. As this type of container is shared, the costs for it are shared and therefore lower. The rail freight charges will be calculated by the volume or weight. However, rail freight costs are also often calculated per pallet. LCL containers are mostly a little cheaper, still, it can be the more expensive option, as well.

Breakpoint calculation

We are using the so called breakpoint calculation to define, which type pays off more: the LCL or FCL railway freight. The calculation determines under the consideration of route or the providers’ terms, which option is the cheaper one. That way, it can happen that, e.g. because of the handling, the costs for a LCL transport are higher than that of a FCL container.

However, the decision is yours, as every type has its advantages and disadvantages. Learn more about it here!

Rail freight quote – break of costs

There are various factors for the calculation of rail freight costs. Here is a list with every included matter of expense:

  • Rail freight rate+
  • rail-terminal charges+
  • Delivery+
  • Customs clearance=
  • Total Chargestrain transport

Rail freight quote – break of costs

There are various factors for the calculation of rail freight costs. Here is a list with every included matter of expense:

Rail terminal costs

At the rail terminal, there are also costs that have to be considered and covered. As soon as the train has arrived, the container and goods have to be unloaded. If general cargo is shipped, it has to be handled and loaded onto another transport mode to be carried to its destination fast and safe.

Delivery of rail freight

The rail freight is supposed to arrive at their destination fast and at low rail freight prices. Hence, truck transports are frequently used as they are cheap and flexible. The provider is choosing a suitable transport mode depending on region and urgency. This is mostly also the best option, as it will safe you time and money.

Customs clearance charges

Rail freight transports also require customs clearance, if there is a border crossing involved. There are many documents that have to be created and charges that have to be covered, which depend on the goods and the country they are to be exported/imported to. The customs clearance charges contain for example staff costs, duties, tax, or the creation of documents.

To keep the rail freight charges and duration of transport as planned, we recommend you to use the service of our customs agent. Of course, you can book this service easy and cheap on our platform.

Transport costs calculator • Find cheap freight prices (2024)
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