If you’re in the import/export business, most of your cargo is transported by sea aboard container ships. When you don’t have sufficient cargo to fill a container, the shipment is known as "less than containerload," or “LCL,” cargo. If the item is too large to fit inside a container it is called “Breakbulk” cargo. In both cases you must use the W/M method to calculate the freight charges. “W/M” is the acronym for “Weight or Volume,” whichever is greater. The charges are based on multiples of 1,000 kilograms versus volume in cubic metres.
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Things you need
- Tape measure
Measure the length, width, and height of the crates or pallets used in a particular shipment. Calculate their volume using the following formula: length x width x height = volume. Add the results together to arrive at the physical space your shipment will take up. This is usually measured in cubic metres.
Weigh each crate, box or pallet and combine the total. Compare the volume arrived at in Step 1 to the weight in kilograms. Use the higher of the two to calculate the W/M freight charges.
Multiply the amount arrived at in Step 2 by the W/M rate to arrive at the total freight charges for the shipment. For example, suppose the W/M rate is £75.00 and you have 12 pallets each weighing 175 kilograms and measuring 130 cm x 128.5 cm x 110 cm. Then 12 x 175 = 2,100 kilograms, and 12 pallets x 123 cm x 128.5 cm x 108 cm, divided by 1,000,000 cubic centimetres = 22 cubic meters. Therefore the volume is greater than the physical weight, so the freight charges would be £75.00 x 22 cubic meters, which equals £1,650.00.
Tips and warnings
- Your shipper my include surcharges based on a) fluctuating international currency rates, know as a currency adjustment factor, and b) bunker adjustment factor based on the cost of bunker fuel during periods of unstable oil prices.
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