Guide to Carriage Fees also known as Freight Charges

Carriage fees, also known as freight charge, is crucial for businesses that rely on shipping to manage operations and plan strategically. 

To make it simple to understand what carriage fees are, these fees account for a significant portion of logistics costs, and having a firm grasp of their components is essential for making informed decisions about your shipping strategy. 

Carriage fees encompass the various expenses incurred during the transportation process, from the moment your goods are picked up at the origin to their final delivery at the destination. 

Carriage Fees

What are Carriage Fees?

Carriage charges meaning, carriage fee represents the cost a shipper pays to a transportation company to move goods from one location to another. 

Transportation: The core cost of moving your goods, which can vary depending on the distance, mode of transportation (truck, ship, airplane), and weight. 

Handling: Fees associated with loading, unloading, and potentially storing your goods at various points during the journey. 

Packaging: Some carriers might charge additional fees for specific packaging requirements or oversized items. 

Fuel Surcharges: Costs that fluctuate based on current fuel prices. 

Security Fees: Additional charges for securing your shipment, especially for high-value goods. 

Factors Impacting Carriage Fees

Several factors influence the cost of carriage charges.

Mode of Transportation

The mode of transportation you choose has a significant impact on the cost of carriage fees. 

Air freight is generally the most expensive option, as it offers the fastest delivery time. 

Ocean freight is a more cost-effective option for transporting large quantities of goods over long distances, but it also has the longest transit times. 

Ground transportation (trucking) typically falls between air and ocean freight in terms of both cost and speed. 


The distance your goods need to travel is another major factor influencing carriage fees. Longer distances will naturally lead to higher transportation costs, regardless of the mode you choose. 

Weight and Dimensions

Carriers typically base their charges on either the actual weight of your shipment or its dimensional weight (whichever is higher). 

Dimensional weight is a calculation that factors in the size of your package, as bulky items take up more space on a truck, ship, or airplane even if they are lightweight. 

Fuel Prices

Fluctuations in fuel costs can directly impact the final carriage fee. 

Since fuel is a major expense for transportation companies, they often implement fuel surcharges to account for price increase. These surcharges can fluctuate depending on the current market price of fuel. 

Origin and Destination

The specific locations you’re shipping between can affect the cost due to factors like infrastructure and demand. 

Shipping lanes with higher traffic volumes or those with less developed infrastructure at the origin or destination ports may lead to higher carriage fees. 

Value of Goods

The value of your goods can also influence carriage fees. High-value goods might require additional security measures during transport, such as special handling or tracking. 

These added security services can increase the overall cost of your shipment. 

Delivery Speed

The speed of delivery is another key factor. 

Expedited shipping options, such as next-day air freight, typically come at a premium compared to standard delivery times. If your shipment is not time-sensitive, opting for slower shipping methods can significantly reduce your carriage fees. 

What are the Different Types of Carriage Fees?

There are various types of carriage fees, depending on the specific services included in your shipment. 

Door-to-Door Service: Is the most comprehensive option, covering the entire transportation journey from the shipper’s origin location to the recipient’s final destination. 

It typically includes pickup, transportation, unloading, and delivery. 

Port-to-Port Service: This carriage charge only applies to the ocean freight portion of the transportation, between the designated ports of origin and destination. It does not include inland transportation costs from the shipper’s origin to the origin port or from the destination port to the final recipient’s location. 

Origin Charges: These fees encompass services performed at the shipper’s location, such as pickup, palletization, dock charges, and any necessary paperwork processing. 

Destination Charges: These costs are added up at the final delivery location and may include unloading, delivery fees, customs clearance (for international shipments), and any applicable taxes. 

How to Choose the Right Shipping Service

Selecting the right shipping service is crucial for optimizing your carriage fees and ensuring smooth delivery of your goods. 

Consider the following to better make your decision: 

Compare quotes from different carriers, considering not just the base rate but also potential surcharges and additional fees. 

Evaluate your needs. If speed is critical, prioritize carriers offering faster transit times, but be aware of the associated cost increase.  

Ensure the carrier delivers to your desired locations and offers the necessary services, such as door-to-door delivery or international shipping capabilities. 

Research the carrier’s reputation for on-time deliveries and track record for handling goods safely. 

Consider the carrier’s online tools for shipment tracking, quote generation, and scheduling. 

For complex international shipments, consider using a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders act as intermediaries, managing various aspects of the shipping process, including customs clearance, documentation, and cargo consolidation. 

They can leverage their expertise and network to negotiate competitive rates and streamline your international shipping operations. 

Strategies to Reduce Carriage Fees

Once you understand the factors impacting carriage fees, you can implement strategies to minimize your overall freight charges. 

Use right-sized packaging to minimize dimensional weight, which can significantly impact your freight fees. 

As mentioned earlier, negotiate bulk discounts for high-volume shipments to reduce your overall freight charges. 

Balance speed requirements with cost-effectiveness. Ground shipping is often more economical for non-time-sensitive shipments compared to air freight, which typically has higher freight fees. 

Prepaying for shipping can sometimes lead to discounted rates compared to invoicing upon delivery, potentially lowering your freight fee. 

Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) define responsibilities and associated costs between buyer and seller during international shipping. 


What are carriage fees in shipping? 

Carriage charge, meaning freight charges, represent the costs associated with transporting goods from one location to another.

These fees encompass various services, including transportation itself, handling, potential storage, and sometimes even packaging or security measures. 

How can I reduce carriage fees? 

Reduce dimensional weight by using right-sized boxes and minimizing empty space within the package. 

For high-volume shipments, negotiate bulk discounts with carriers to secure lower per-shipment costs. 

When speed isn’t a major concern, prioritize cost-effective options like ground shipping over faster but more expensive air freight. 

Whenever possible, combine smaller shipments into fewer, larger packages to reduce the total number of shipments and associated fees. 

Prepaying for shipping can sometimes lead to discounted rates compared to invoicing upon delivery. 

How are carriage fees calculated? 

The calculation of carriage fees considers various factors. 

Air freight is typically the most expensive, followed by ocean freight and then ground transportation. 

Longer distances generally lead to higher transportation costs regardless of the mode chosen. 

Carriers often base charges on either the actual weight or the dimensional weight (whichever is higher). 

Services like special handling, security measures, or expedited delivery will increase the overall carriage fee.