How To Get a Freight Rate Quote: 4 Things Needed for Accurate Pricing
Getting a good freight rate quote or freight rate pricing is an important step in the international shipping process.
You have importing or exporting to do and need to find out what it will cost you. But in order to get an accurate quote, there is information you need to give to your freight forwarder.
Here’s what you will need for receiving good, accurate freight rate pricing:
1. Know What You’re Shipping
This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people try to get freight rates without specifics on what they’re shipping.
The type of item you are shipping matters. Special rules apply to shipments of lumber or raw wood that wouldn’t apply to a shipment of wooden furniture. Household goods work differently for insurance and who will ship them than commercial shipments.
So be ready to give this information.
Be specific with your freight forwarder about what you’re shipping. It affects what carriers will or will not handle your goods, whether air freight or ocean freight is right for you, the type of shipping container you’ll need (reefer, 20′, 40′, HQ)… And all of this affects how much your international shipping will cost and how long it will take.
2. Know the Size and Weight of Your Shipment
This is especially important for air freight shipments. Air freight prices are based on weight and size while ocean freight prices are generally just based on size.
Extremely heavy shipments (such as heavy machinery) can affect your price on ocean freight as well.
You need to know specifically how much your shipment weighs and its size for air freight.
In ocean freight shipping, you’re usually shipping by container.
If you’re shipping less than a container load (LCL), you can still ship by sea and will usually be charged by the cubic meter.
3. Know Where You’re Shipping To and From
Again, this sounds obvious, but you should know that you have options when it comes to international shipping and your freight forwarder will need this information. Do you want your import or export shipped from door to door, door to port, port to port, port to door?
If door shipping, what kind of area is your shipment in? Many trucks are not allowed in residential areas.
Being ready with addresses for the pickup and drop off of goods is the best way to get the most accurate price quote on what it will cost to make your import or export happen.
If you’re only shipping from port to port, let your freight forwarder know the ports you want your cargo shipped from and to.
Get Rates Close to When You’re Shipping
This is a big one that a majority of first time international shippers don’t know. Shipping rates are very volatile, seeming to constantly be in a state of flux.
Unless you’re a giant international shipper like Walmart or Target, you’re dealing in the spot rate market, looking for space on the carriers’ ships and those spot rates keep changing.
As a general rule, freight rate pricing quotes are good for about 30 days. So you want to get a freight rate quote within about a month of exporting or importing.
I know it’s nice to plan and budget ahead. You can always call a freight forwarder to find out what kind of rates your type of shipment is going for at the moment to get an idea of what your shipment might cost.
But know, you’ll need to wait until around that month of shipping to get an actual quote for your shipment.