How do airlines calculate their charges?

Learn how to calculate chargeable weight the way airlines do and save money by packing lighter!
Every time you ship cargo via air, the airline will measure and weight every piece you are going to ship to calculate the final chargeable weight: that’s the real weight considered on the budget the airfreight will negotiate with you.

Why is chargeable weight used instead of gross weight?
You see, some goods are heavy, but they take very little space, while other are very light but take lots of space.
Picture a shipment of cotton and steel. Cotton may take more space compared to a steel shipment. However, a steel shipment will be weighing more. Should both be charged using volume? Weight?
The way airlines charge this is by choosing the higher value between the volumetric weight and the actual weight of the cargo.

Dimensional weight vs Gross weight
The internationally accepted way to calculate chargeable weight is:
1. First you need to convert all units to kilos (KG) and centimeters (CM).
2. Calculate the dimensional weight of each piece using the international formula:
Divide the length multiplied by width multiplied by height by 6,000
3. Compare the result of dimensional weight with the gross weight of each piece.
4. Consider the higher value.
So imagine you have 3 pallets with the following dimensions and weights:

Pallets L (CM) W (CM) H (CM) Weight (KGs)
1 120 80 120 200
1 120 100 120 120
1 80 100 30 400

First, as we already have the values in CMs and KGs, we need to calculate the dimensional weight of each piece and compare it with the actual weight in KGs. For the final sum, we must consider the higher values, which are the chargeable weight of each piece.

Pallets L (CM) W (CM) H (CM) Weight (KGs) Dim. Weight (LXWXH)/6000
1 120 80 120 200.00 192.00
1 120 100 120 120.00 240.00
1 80 100 30 400.00 40.00
840 KGs

How to save up on air freight costs
Now that you know how airlines will charge you, how can you start saving up on airfreight costs?
Use the smallest carton size possible.
Minimize wasted space by compressing products that can be compressed.
Pack lightweight cartons together, if possible.

At EP America, we can quote any air shipment from and to any airport in the world.
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Shipping to LATAM?

Risky markets such as Latin America (LATAM) offer huge business opportunities if you can rely on the right logistic partner

LATAM: a quite appealing market for US Companies

Many businesses consider Latin America a very valuable partner in a global supply chain – and for many good reasons. With a total GDP of $5.61 trillion, the LATAM region offers a great potential to reach over 500 million consumers.

In Latin America, opportunities abound for both sourcing and selling. That’s why many overseas companies are working on expanding their presence in the region.

Shipping to LATAM: the challenges

Even if LATAM is a very attractive market, profits won’t come without a few challenges. Be prepared to face numerous obstacles at customs, for instance. Shipping into the region often gets expensive and can be quite time-consuming.

If you are starting to trade with Latin-American partners and want to know how to ship cargo to some countries in the area, you need to understand the procedures and the complex documentation required. Or to rely on a trustworthy, experimented advisors.

Each country within the region has its own particular set of import/export rules and regulations. That’s why it is extremely important to work with a logistics provider that has experience on compliance procedures for both air and ocean transport. Only by minimizing difficulties in delivering products to clients in LATAM you can really start dreaming with great profits.

How to avoid problems in your shipments

Working with the right logistics supplier makes all the difference in the world – and in LATAM, too.

When you can rely on a company with own-offices all over LATAM and experienced teams of expert operatives in each country, you can leave logistics to them and focus on making great business.

EP America has the solution you need

Leave you logistics to us. This is all we can do for you in EP America:

* Advising on the most appropriate mode of cargo transport.

* Instructing on exporting costs, including freight costs, port charges, consular fees, special documentation costs, insurance costs and freight handling fees.

* Preparing and filing the required export documentation, such as the bill of lading and routing, appropriate documents to the seller, the buyer or a paying bank.

* Reserving the necessary cargo space on a vessel, aircraft, train or truck.

* Coordinating our teams at origin and destination, to make sure everything is in line with compliance requirements.

Do you feel identified with any of the challenges when trading with your partners in south and central America? Having the best service to LATAM doesn’t have to be expensive!

Contact us and learn more:


Are you importing to the right port?

How do you choose the best port for your imports

Choosing the best ocean port

Choosing the right port to import your products can have a great impact in both the cost of the shipment, and on the time it takes for the cargo to arrive. To choose the best, you’ll need to look at the impact of port location, freight costs, inventory costs, and last mile delivery on your scheduled time-to-market.

It takes around 34 days to ship from Hong Kong to New York, and only 20 days to ship from Hong Kong to Los Angeles (LA). How important could be this 14-day difference to you?

If you are importing from Asia into the U.S., you’ll need to decide where your containers will land: on an East Coast, Gulf Coast or West Coast port. If you import into Southern California, over-the-road (OTR) freight costs will increase from moving goods from west to east. For lower-cost commodities, you may prioritize lower freight costs over shorter ship times and elect to ship your freight direct to East Coast or Gulf Coast ports. 

But, if you’re shipping higher-value, short-shelf-life products – like seasonal clothing, for instance –, an extra 14 days of ocean transit could mean you’ll miss a portion of your selling season. For these products, a West Coast port will likely be the best solution when importing from Asia. It will save you two weeks of ocean transit time, and you can ship OTR from LA to 90% of the U.S. within five days.  

Trucking to destination

Land transportation costs are a key factor in the port selection equation. U.S. shippers and consignees are facing huge truck intermodal cost hikes. Rapid economic growth has resulted in a rise for supply chain costs.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is also changing trucking by increasing transit times, further increasing costs.

Before ELD, single truck drivers would routinely make 450+ mile trips, being able to unload and return in a single day. With ELD, a trip that distance is pretty much impossible to do in a single day for a single driver.

Need to consult if your lanes are the best?

Even if you have a huge logistics department in your company, choosing a carrier yourself can be hard, especially since the carrier of your choice might not efficiently service the port that might work best for your supply chain.

The best solution? Working with a third-party logistics company. A good 3PL supplier can route your cargo to the best port, on the best carrier, in the best way possible.

At EP America, we personalize every shipment, considering your needs in cost-saving and the transit time that best works for your supply chain. We enable you to ship into different ports, while maintaining the costs as low as possible.

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The road ahead for Asian supply chains

The nearly 12-month trade war between the U.S. and China has caused panic to supply chains across the Asia-Pacific region – and it seems the feeling may persist for years. Many companies are beginning to restructure their supply chains away from China.

If you are sourcing from China and feeling uncertain about what the future will bring, breathe a little. There are other countries that you can turn to.

Vietnam has been a major beneficiary of the longer-term relocation out of China tendencies. Some of the most important electronics manufacturers are already shifting their production to the country.

Vietnam’s government has announced plans to aggressively pursue exporters that have relabeled Chinese exports as if they were from Vietnam in order to avoid U.S. duties.

Notable examples where there has been a shift from China to Vietnam have arisen in the lower-technology manufacturing segments, including furniture and electrical cabling, where we are already seeing companies exchanging China for Vietnam as supplier.

Vietnam’s rise in exports to the U.S. has accompanied China’s decline over the past 12 months. Chinese exports to the U.S. fell 14.5% in dollar terms in the three months to Apr. 30, or by $17 billion over the three-month period. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s climbed 34.5% (or by $3.80 billion).

If you are searching for a new place to source because you have been affected by the new tariffs, Vietnam might be the place to go.

It is not easy to shift a supply chain, considering logistics. At EP America, we have a wide network of trusted strategic partners covering all Asia – and developed relationships in Vietnam – that can help us move anything via air or ocean to the U.S.

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Cruise Ships, the most challenging logistics

The cruise ship industry is growing fast. With new amenities such as golf courts, bumper cars, exquisite and diverse food selections, pools for all ages, zip lines and robotic bartenders, last generation cruise lines now face the challenge of investing in new vessels, and renovating the current ones.

While enjoying a fancy drink and watching the ocean, most of the cruisers just don’t consider the amount of money, time, effort, and energy that goes into creating these once-in-a-lifetime experiences for each passenger.

And you? Have you ever though what is needed to send these floating cities to open seas?

Before heading out of a port for a 7-day cruise, the typical cruise ship needs to be stocked like a small city, filled with fuel, and equipped with the right certificates of compliance for multiple destinations. Let’s learn a little bit more about it:


Flawless compliance

It can be especially tricky for cruise lines, which usually dock at multiple destinations within a very short period. Missing compliance certificates can result in huge delays in every stop.

Working with a reliable, global logistics partner, cruise lines can effectively cross these compliance-related tasks off their to-do lists, trusting they’re being handled in a responsible and timely manner.

All the goods loaded in cruise liners need their individual customs documents. The customs procedures differ from country to country, no matter if they are in the same continent. Each product that crosses borders is charged with value-added taxes (VAT) and other duties, depending on its type and the usage in the cruise.


Supplying Her

Besides compliance, cruise ship logistics involves stocking nearly every corner of an enormous vessel. The restocking process must be organized in the most seamless way. Every inbound and outbound shipment has to be coordinated with several different suppliers. For an outsider or a beginner, turnaround day may seem impossible. However, with carefully planned logistics, everything is possible – and smooth and flawless, too.


Ship spares

Another important group of her needs is comprised by ship spares.

This category includes any product that is needed either in the engine room or on deck. The listing can contain both consumable and non-consumable items. The spare parts logistics require a highly responsive supply chain management, as these goods significance is quite critical. In the case of the cruise sector, short lead time is very difficult to be achieved, as the company’s fleet is operated worldwide, and ships are a moving target.

Lead time is the most important factor for supplying a cruise. As “lead time”, we can define the number of days, months, years between the place of the order and the loading of the products. The lead time depends on two factors: The first is the availability of the product in the producer, manufacturer, suppliers or vendors, and the second, the logistics flow.

Our time critical cargo division is highly proficient delivering these shipments, making sure that whatever the case, they arrive on time. Our 24/7 emergency desks can coordinate your logistics immediately even on holidays with our diverse time critical solutions such as Air Charters, On-Board Couriers, Ground Expedited, Next Flight Out, Next Day flights and more.

At EP America, we have the experience of taking ship spares to dry docks and ports all over the globe. Time critical cargo is our expertise, and our specialists will never tell you it’s not possible.

When everyone tells you it can’t be done, we find a way to get your ship spares and provisions to deck on time!


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Do I need cargo insurance for my shipment?

Cargo insurance is a type of insurance that covers/compensates a buyer or seller of goods against cargo damage or loss of cargo.


Insurance is an intangible benefit that can protect you from situations where your cargo is lost or damaged.


Whether your shipment is

  • Local
  • National
  • International


You can have your cargo insured to eliminate risk.


Any shipment has the risk of theft, damage, or abandoning. In all these situations, you want to be covered.


In the USA, cargo theft has a high concentration in six states, and certain cities and truck’s stops. Thefts are more frequent on weekends and spike during holidays. Internationally, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa are three of the worst countries for cargo theft, according to Freightwatch.


How does cargo damage occur?

In every cargo shipment, a CARRIER is contracted to carry the goods from point A to point B by rail, road, sea, inland waterway or a combination of these modes.

If you consider the movement of cargo by road, air or ocean, several forces are acting on the shipment during transport caused by the movement of the truck, vessel or airplane.

It can also be caused by incorrect packing by the shipper, misguidance by suppliers, among other factors.

At EP America we can help you with insurance for your next Air, Ocean and/or Ground shipment. Remember that anything can happen when the cargo is in transit.