How to Calculate Fuel Surcharge & Chargeable Weight When Shipping: Step-By-Step Directions

Whether you’re shipping something domestically or internationally, there are two things that will impact your final shipping costs: fuel surcharge and chargeable weight. It’s important to determine these costs ahead of time so you can incorporate their value into your shipping plan and budget. Let’s go over how to calculate both.

Calculating fuel surcharge and chargeable weight is essential when shipping items across the country or globe because they both directly impact the overall cost of the shipping process. There are formulas for calculating both of these costs, which are both key aspects of a transport budget. In this post, we’re going to show you how to calculate each one (you can also use our calculator for help!).

Fuel surcharge calculation

Fuel surcharge rates are subject to fluctuation and are based on a regulated fuel index. It’s important to check the rate every month to maintain accuracy. Or, use a trusted logistics company to complete your shipments who will then provide you with this information while quoting your shipment costs.

As of July 2023, Worldnet’s fuel surcharge rate is 19%. Here is an example of how you would calculate a surcharge for your unique shipment based on this percentage:

  1. Determine your base rate: The base rate is the standard cost of shipping without any additional surcharges. This rate is usually provided by the shipping company you’re using to transport the items.
  2. Obtain the fuel surcharge rate: As mentioned, the fuel surcharge rate is 19%.
  3. Calculate the surcharge: Multiply the base rate by the fuel surcharge rate (expressed as a decimal) to calculate the fuel surcharge amount. For example, if the base rate is $100, the fuel surcharge would be calculated like this:

Fuel Surcharge = Base Rate * Fuel Surcharge Rate = $100 * 0.19 = $19

So, the fuel surcharge for a $100 base rate with a 19% fuel surcharge rate would be $19.

4. Add the fuel surcharge to the base rate: Lastly, add the calculated fuel surcharge amount to the base rate to obtain the total shipping cost. Using the previous example, the total shipping cost would be:

Total Shipping Cost = Base Rate + Fuel Surcharge = $100 + $19 = $119

Chargeable weight

Chargeable weight is determined by either the weight of your shipment or the amount of space (dimensional weight) it takes up on an aircraft or truck. Airlines will charge for whichever is the greater of the two numbers – dimensional weight or actual weight.

The equation for finding a shipment’s dimensional weight is:

Imperial: Inches to LBs = (Length* Width * Height)/139
Metric: Centimeters to KGs = (Length* Width * Height)/5000

To calculate your item’s dimensional weight in imperial, you’ll need to:

  1. Convert the dimensions of the item into inches if they are not already in inches. Ensure that the length, width, and height are all in inches.
  2. Multiply the length, width, and height of the item to obtain the volume in cubic inches.
  3. Divide the volume by 139 to calculate the dimensional weight in pounds.

For example, suppose your item has the following dimensions in inches: Length = 12 inches, Width = 8 inches, Height = 6 inches

Volume = Length * Width * Height = 12 in * 8 in * 6 in = 576 cubic inches

Dimensional Weight = Volume / 139 = 576 in³ / 139 ≈ 4.15 lbs

So, the dimensional weight of the item would be approximately 4.15 pounds. If the actual weight is less than 4.15 pounds, you will be charged on dimensional weight. So for example, if the shipment’s actual weight is 2 pounds, you will still be charged for a shipment of 4.15 pounds.

Note: If your shipping provider uses kilograms (metric) instead of pounds (imperial) for weight calculations, you can convert the dimensional weight from pounds to kilograms using the conversion factor: 1 lb = 0.4536 kg.

Simplify the Process: Hire a Premium Logistics Company

These calculations aren’t necessarily easy – they can be difficult to complete, especially when you’ve got several items to ship with different measurements and weights. This is when a premium logistics company comes in to save the day. This team of experts will handle your fuel surcharge and chargeable weight and report back to you with accurate information, so you can plan and budget accordingly. They will also handle the entire shipping process from start to finish, so you can have peace of mind while focusing on other tasks.

An experienced premium logistics company will help you:

  • Plan ahead: Heavier shipments require more fuel, additional handling equipment, and potentially specialized transportation arrangements. By knowing fuel surcharge and chargeable weight and considering them ahead of time, you’ll be able to account for the additional resources and costs associated with heavier shipments, thereby ensuring proper planning and resource allocation.
  • Reduce costs: A premium logistics company will be mindful when it comes to packaging and how it impacts cost of shipping. Avoiding boxes that are too big for your goods can save space and reduce cost.

Final Thoughts

Calculating fuel surcharge and chargeable weight for a shipment is an important part of the overall logistics process. Whether you ship often or once in a while, it’s crucial to understand these calculations so you can budget accordingly for shipping.

Need help preparing and/or transporting an international shipment? Contact Worldnet today to get started.