The journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple quote! If you are planning to move from one place to the other or you want to export your goods to someone at the other end of the planet, you must start by getting an accurate air freight quote.

But what is required for that?

That’s what we are going to discuss in this post.

Most business owners neglect the importance of quotes and step directly into air cargo or air freight. They risk their money spent on sending the products and the price of goods to be moved. If your products are not correctly classified or transmitted via the wrong channel, you may never see them again, or worst case, you might have to pay a hefty fine for not following the rules and regulations.

To save you and your packages from all the potential problems which may come your way, we have come up with detailed guidelines on air freight quotes.

So, let’s get started!

What is a cargo quote?

A cargo quote is a document that explains all the technical details of the pickup, time, and delivery point. Based on the distance, time, and fuel charges at that time, a rate is quoted that usually has an expiry date, and the rate is considered null and void after that date. This is because things move so quickly in the shipping business that it is hard to predict the future.

Types of quotes in the global air freight services:

When you go looking for quotes in the market, you will hear two names very often that is:

  1. Spot quote
  2. Contract quote

Spot quote:

Spot quotes are the current market competitive rate you are offered for a specific time and only one or two projects. This means you are only obligated to perform this one job together at the bargained price, and then you can decide about your next project again, whether you want to get the services of the same company or a new one.

Since the market is too unstable and fuel prices are constantly changing, it is good to have a spot quote instead of a contract where you are forced to work with someone for a fixed time, even if their rates don’t look good to you.

Advantages of spot quoted rates:

Here are some of the significant advantages you will get by using spot quoted rates:

  1. There is an incredible amount of flexibility in spot quotes for long-term working.
  2. You always get new market competitive rates.
  3. Get your cargo sent quickly; there is no need to wait for a contract.
  4. It is ideal for small businesses or casual global air freight service users.
  5. Since you get immediate service, you remain in touch with the service provider from the start till the end.

Disadvantages of spot quoted rates:

Although there are tons of advantages of spot quotes, there are some disadvantages as well, such as:

  1. Spot quotes rate fluctuations very much. The rate for today might be different than the one for yesterday.
  2. Spot quotes are time-consuming if you need to do frequent business deals.
  3. Spot quotes can be a problem if you require urgent delivery.
  4. Spot quotes need to be negotiated regularly, which takes a lot of valuable time and effort.

To ensure that you are always getting an accurate air freight quote, only work with a reputable broker and learn all the details before choosing whether you need a spot quote or contract quote.

Contract quotes rates:

For long term work, especially for big companies which frequently use air freight services contracts, quoted rates are a better option. Since they do business almost daily, they can’t negotiate terms every day, and having a fixed arrangement helps them in the long run.

They don’t have to worry about changing market trends and rates of fossil fuels because they have already secured a rate that is par with the changing market.

This type of shipping makes sure that big companies like Walmart or Amazon never face a loss.

Know your products!

When you try to get your parcel booked for air freight, the first step should be to explain the nature of your product and explain everything the air freight forwarder must know to perform his job in the best way. For example, if your products are heat sensitive, hazardous, or might leak during the journey, you must explain all concerns beforehand. Otherwise, it will cause issues not just for you but for everyone involved with the delivery.

Rules are different for raw products and finished products. For example, if you are shipping raw wood or lumber, you might be asked to follow a different route than when you try to send wooden furniture of the same material. Be vocal right from the start of your air freight process, which begins with a simple quote.

Size and weight of your cargo:

Size and weight are one of the many things which account for the increase in the cost of a shipment, and you can’t expect to pay the same amount of charges when you send 100gram of something vs. when you send 100kg of the same product.

Weight and volume are critical elements when deciding the charges for air freight shipping. Charges for air freight are calculated either by measuring volumetric weight or actual weight, depending on which is more expensive. For example, if the actual weight of your containers is 100kg, but the volumetric weight is 150 kg, you will be charged according to the volumetric charges since this is a higher value.

How to calculate the volumetric weight:

To calculate the volume weight in inches, multiply the length by the width by the height (L x W x H) in inches to get the cubic inches. Divide the obtained cubic inch result by 166 to get the dimensional weight in pounds in inches.

Even renowned global air freight services may have limits. If you want a hassle-free experience, know all the weight limits of your shipping company and choose the service accordingly.

Be specific about the destination:

When choosing a destination, try to be as specific as possible. Communication is the key to the perfect business. If you want to send your parcels to any country or city, don’t stop just at the name of the port or city. Elaborate on the end destination, such as the warehouse, because the transport from port to the desired warehouse can prove to be quite expensive. Explain whether your shipment is door to door, port door, or simply port to port; also, before getting a quote, explain to your freight forwarder whether you want to import or export goods as they have different prices.

To save yourself and the shipping company from future troubles, be vocal right from the very start of the process. This can help you further when some areas, such as Ukraine or Russia, have specific political issues. Sending cargo in such instances can be more complicated than you may have expected.

Right quote at the right time!

You may think that there is no such thing as the right time, every time can be the right time, but that is not the case in air freight. Things change so quickly that a quote 5 or 6 months ago might prove to be worthless in the present.

Try to get quotes from different companies in a fixed time, which is different for air and ocean freight. It is generally believed that for air freight, your quote can remain valid for up to 30 days, while for any other type of freight, the quotation becomes too old after seven days. This rapid change occurs due to the volatile prices of fossil fuels.

Benefits of air freight quote:

In the modern market, we have so many options to choose from, and we have different types of freight. Each comes with its own pros and cons, and you must use the opportunity and get a quote to get the best rates on your cargo shipping.

Here are some major benefits you will gain by getting a quote before shipping your goods:

  1. Better price
  2. Know all your options
  3. Find the quickest way
  4. Know what to expect


In everyone’s interest, the quotation is made with great attention. Otherwise, it can create problems for the customer, carrier, and freight forwarder. And at the time of pickup, you can be playing a game of who said what while your precious cargo is waiting at the storage point, where it might suffer severe damages or, worst-case scenario, gets stolen.

To prevent problems in the later stages of shipment, be careful right from the start and double-check all facts and figures. Be more active and get quotes from different sources in the market and then decide on the one which provides you with the most value for money offer.

In today’s age, all it takes to get a quote is a button click.