What affects the shipping price?

From the size of your shipment to the distance it has to travel – there are a number of different factors that affect the shipping price. By understanding these as well as additional charges that might apply, you'll get a clearer picture as to how your shipment costs are calculated.

What are the main factors that affect the shipping price?

When it comes to defining shipping costs, there are several factors at play. Here are a few of the most common ones and the way they can affect the price you pay.

  • Size and weight categories
  • Dimensional weight
  • Shipping distance
  • Delivery times
  • Surcharges
  • Taxes and duties

Size and weight categories

Each carrier has its own specific categories and terms to describe weight and size limitations – but these will usually include envelopes for standard A4 documents, packs for larger documents and compact items, boxes and pallets. Oversized or odd-sized packages may be accepted with a surcharge. If you’re not sure which size category your shipment falls under, it’s a good idea to consult your preferred carrier.

Dimensional weight

Dimensional (DIM) weight is another factor that may affect the shipping price. It refers to the package density, which is the amount of space it occupies in relation to its actual weight. The DIM weight of your package becomes the billable weight when it exceeds the actual weight.

Shipping distance

Whether you’re shipping domestically or internationally may also affect your shipping costs. Carriers often apply dynamic geographic zones to measure the distance your shipment has to travel. The greater the distance, the higher the cost.

Delivery times

Depending on the country of origin and destination, carriers will usually offer a range of standard and express service times. The service names may vary per carrier, but the time frames usually fit into these three categories.

  • Time-specific deliveries that deliver packages in precise time slots
  • Express deliveries including overnight and next day services
  • Standard delivery times usually ranging between two to seven working days, depending on the distance the shipment has to cover

How do surcharges affect the shipping price?

Surcharges are extra costs added to a base rate. It’s important to be aware of them and understand which ones apply to your shipment. Extra charges and ancillary fees (for import shipments) may be applied if the shipment requires more paperwork, effort or time. Anything that falls outside standard shipping and handling will affect the shipping price. 

Here are some of the most common types of surcharges:

  • Fuel surcharge
    This is the most common surcharge and it covers the fluctuating price of oil. It’s calculated as a percentage of the shipment price and is usually adjusted on a weekly basis.
  • Oversized or odd-sized packages surcharge
    You may be charged extra for non-stackable or cylindrical shipments as well as for packages that measure greater than your carrier’s standard format.
  • Extended area service for remote territories
    There is an additional fee for delivering packages to remote areas.
  • Dangerous goods
    Any dangerous goods shipment that potentially poses a risk to a person or other shipments will also incur additional charges. 
  • Address correction
    If your carrier needs to adjust paperwork for you, you may be charged correction fees. 

Taxes and duties

It’s important to keep in mind that international shipments may also be subject to taxes and duties that need to be paid separately. To find out which charges apply to your shipment, consult with your carrier or the customs authorities of the country you’re shipping to.

How can I avoid unnecessary charges?

  • Make sure your shipping information is correct and complies with shipping regulations
  • Don’t use a box larger than you need
  • Contact your preferred carrier and check which surcharges apply to your shipment

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