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Freight from the USA
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Dimensional weight in the online freight calculator

Here is about how dimensional weight impacts freight costs in shipping cargo from the U.S. using our LCL freight service:

  • If you self-deliver cargo in boxes or crates directly to an international ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS), then most likely, the weight of cargo will not be a pricing factor in your international cargo transportation from the USA. The freight cost will be calculated by the overall volume of your cargo, not by the weight. Such ocean freight carriers' terminals are called Container Freight Stations or CFS. Shipping freight LCL directly to a CFS is the cheapest way to ship relatively large cargo from the USA using LCL freight.
  • However, suppose you request a pickup (collection) OR deliver cargo at a local U.S. domestic LTL carrier's warehouse for ground transportation (line haul) within the USA to a CFS for further shipping out of the U.S. by sea. In that case, the shipping cost in the U.S. domestic part of transportation will be calculated based on the cargo's dimensional weight.

When calculating shipping costs with our online freight price calculator, remember the essential difference between U.S. origin freight terminals WITH or WITHOUT ASTERISK (*) as listed in the online freight calculator's drop-down list.

US Seafreight Price Calculator for international shipping of LCL

A. International shipping terminals HIGHLIGHTED and WITHOUT asterisks (MIAMI, FL, for example) are direct international ocean freight carriers' terminals called CFS - Container Freight Stations.

Shipping LCL freight delivered directly at CFS is the cheapest way to ship goods from the USA overseas. There will be no additional charges in sea freight rates to load cargo on board the vessel and sail to the destination country.

It should be under Option A in the price quote obtained in the online freight calculator.

Also, freight rates (chargeable volume per cubic meter or cubic foot) for cargo delivered directly to CFS are typically based on the cargo's overall size. If cargo density does not exceed a density limit, then weight for such cargo is not a pricing factor.

The density limit in ocean freight is very high. Most of the time, in intercontinental freight, it is 1000 kilograms (2205 lbs) per Cubic Meter. Regular cargo most likely will not exceed the limit.

Please note that for smaller cargo vessels that serve shorter trade lines (sailing between North America America and the Caribbean, for example), the density limit can be lower: 750 kilos per cbm or even 500 kilos per cbm. 
B. International freight terminals WITH ASTERISKS (Cocoa Beach, FL*, for example) are local U.S. domestic LTL carriers' freight terminals. Cargo delivered at such terminals needs to be line hauled to an international ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS). Unlike shipping freight directly from CFS, international shipments initiated via line haul terminals (LH) are subject to a line haul charge on top of international ocean freight.

It should be under Option B in your price quote obtained in the online freight calculator.
C. Finally, with our online LCL freight price calculator for cargo deliveries from the USA overseas, you can request a pickup of your packed goods "from your door." The calculator will determine pickup charges by your cargo location's ZIP code (U.S. postal code).

When calculating a price quote online, select a pickup type and enter the ZIP code in the last stage of the calculation. For your consideration, the online freight calculator should return you a complete price quote, including the pickup option. Cargo pickup charges will be added on top of ocean freight as well. 

It should be under Option B or C in your price quote.

Please always remember that local U.S. line haul and pickup charges, included in the total shipping cost of your shipping from the U.S., are based on the dimensional weight of cargo and the freight class.


Dimensional weight in the U.S. domestic part of the transportation

Dimensional Weight (or Dim. Weight) states for a volumetric standard instead of using the actual weight of transporting cargo.

Concerning international cargo transportation from the USA overseas LCL, dimensional weight will apply on the ground part of cargo transportation, typically in calculating freight charges from U.S. domestic LTL carriers during cargo deliveries to ocean freight carriers terminals (CFSs).

When calculating shipping costs with our online freight calculator and requesting a cargo pickup or line haul, you enter the dimensions and weight of each shipping unit. You instantly recognize whether your cargo is subject to actual or dimensional weight freight charges. In other words, in international shipping from the USA overseas LCL, U.S. domestic pickup and line haul freight charges are calculated based on the actual or dimensional cargo weight, whichever is greater.

Dimensional weight favors shippers of dense items and does not favor those who ship light cargo. For example, a box of un-popped corn kernels will likely be charged by gross weight; a box of popcorn will probably be charged by its dimensional weight. Shippers avoid dimensional weight charges by using smaller containers, compressing their goods, and reducing the use of packing materials.

Dimensional weight in freight

Depending on carriers, dimensional weight in U.S. domestic ground transportation is calculated using different formulas. For example, Dim. weight in lbs = L X W X H (in inches):166.


Density limit in shipping sea freight LCL

Most of the time, vessels' capacity is not limited by the cargo weight but by the ships' hold. Therefore, sea freight rates for shipping regular cargo are calculated based on the overall cargo volume, not the weight of shipping goods. As a rule, in sea freight rates in international shipping from the U.S. abroad LCL, the weight of the cargo is not a pricing factor.

However, a cargo density limit can apply to ocean freight as well. It varies depending on cargo vessels, international ocean freight carriers, origins and destinations, country regulations, etc. Most of the time, regular international ocean freight shipments do not exceed the density limit. U.S. exporters and importers should know the "U.S. 45 lbs rule in ocean freight": 45 lbs = one cubic foot. This means that if the density of international LCL ocean freight shipment exceeds 45 lbs per one cubic foot, then chargeable shipping volume will be calculated using this formula: Total weight of the cargo (in pounds) divided by 45 lbs = Chargeable volume in cubic feet.

In international cargo transportation between countries with the metric system, the limit is one cubic meter = 1000 kilos (a metric ton). However, depending on vessels, ocean freight carriers, etc., it may vary by one cbm = 750 kilos, one cbm = 500 kilos, etc.

If shipping from the USA overseas with extremely heavy cargo, always pay attention to the density limit in every shipment.

Freight class in U.S. domestic part of the transportation

Freight Class is the category of freight defined by the U.S. National Motor Freight Traffic Association. (NMFTA). It is also referred to as NMFC - National Motor Freight Classification.

Freight Class is determined by its contents, as different types of products have different shipping costs. There are 18 different freight classes from class 55 up to class 500. In respect of shipping goods from the U.S. overseas LCL, freight class determines the rate you will pay on pickup or line-haul to deliver cargo to an ocean carrier's terminal (CFS – Container Freight Stations). Higher freight classes are subject to higher costs in U.S. ground cargo transportation.
The NMFTA classes products according to four characteristics:

  • Density - weight per cubic foot
  • Stowability - including excessive weight and excessive length
  • Ease of Handling - includes special care or attention necessary to handle the goods.
  • Liability- includes price per pound, susceptibility to theft, liability to damage, and perishability.

When shipping NMFC-rated shipments, ensure that your class is accurate. The freight class submitted is most likely not to be reclassified if it falls within the following guidelines:

  • You ship new or used commercial/industrial goods.
  • The density corresponds to the freight class.

Our online ocean freight calculator helps determine freight class based on cargo density – one of four characteristics. However, the shipper must consider the rest of the traits and change the freight class on his/her shipment if necessary.

You may also call the NMFTA directly at (703) 838-1810 to reconfirm the freight class of shipment by commodity.

Please note that the shipper is held responsible for freight class declaration. Our pickup/line haul price quotes are based on the freight class the shipper declares. Declaration of incorrect freight class may result in a price schedule change.

Notice: If you declare household goods in your shipment, then your freight class, regardless of its density, will most likely be reclassified by the carrier to class 150.

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