How To Know If Freight Quotes Are Reasonable | Freight Forwarding 101

How To Know If Freight Quotes Are Reasonable | Freight Forwarding 101

If you are just starting out on your international freight journey, or you are a one-off international freight user, it is often hard to know whether you are getting the right quotes for your personal freight situation. In this blog post, we break down the 8 most important pieces of information to get an accurate freight quote, and how to spot irregularities.

What information do you need before approaching an international freight company for a quote?


More often than not, we receive inquiries without sufficient information to provide an accurate quote. Freight prices are usually dependent on many factors. Therefore, knowing these information about your personal freight requirements will help the freight forwarder in determining what level of service is right for you. If you don't know all of the below straight off the bat, try your best to determine most of them yourself, but don't be afraid to reach out to your freight forwarder and let them help you find those pieces of information for a complete quote.

The 8 pieces of information you need for an accurate international freight quote:

  • Your origin location: This is where your goods originate. It could be your supplier's warehouse, or your own home. You will need the Country, City/town and local Post Code for a complete quote.
  • Your destination location: Again, pretty self-explanatory. For a door-to-door freight quote you will need to provide the Destination Country, as well as City/Town and Post Code for an accurate quote.
  • Size and weight of your freight: You will need BOTH the dimensions of your combined cargo (height x length x width), as well as the combined weight (kgs). These two pieces of information will be used to determine the density of your freight which will further affects quotes.
  • Mode of transport: You will need to determine whether you want sea freight, air freight or even road freight. To do so, you will need to know the timeline (fast vs. slow method) as well as your budget (for example, sea freight is cheaper than air freight).
  • Whether you need Customs Brokerage: 9 times out of 10 this will be you. Regardless of what cargo you have, you will need to clear it from the destination country's customs before being able to pick it up. This cannot be done with the absence of customs brokers.
  • Your Commodity: You will need to disclose the nature of your goods. There are two reasons why you need to do so - number 1, to comply with any regulations associated with the goods; and number 2, to work out duty and or taxes level. Providing this upfront will speed up the process of quoting.
  • Your Contact Details: Of course, it is essential that you provide enough contact details for the freight company to contact you with your quote. This may be in the form of email, name and/or company name at the very least.

With the above information, your freight forwarder should be able to at the very least give you a starting point quote that you will be able to go off and plan your shipments.

How Do You Know If A Freight Quote Is Reasonable?


Now that you've collected all the information you need for an accurate and complete freight quote, the next part is determining whether the quote is reasonable, and which freight forwarder to choose.

To determine if a freight quote is reasonable, you must collect at least 3 quotes from freight forwarders of the same size. Why is the latter so important? Because international freight companies vary vastly in size and so will their quote. Before you reach out to get quotes and cross compare different-sized companies, read our blog post on whether a large conglomerate or a local freight forwarder is the right choice for you.

Once you've collected these quotes, the next part is to see whether or not their charges are reasonable. There are 3 different components to a quote:

The base of the quote: Whether you are shipping sea freight or air freight, if your cargo is travelling cross borders, these costs will incur no matter what your cargo is. For example, terminal handling fees, toll fees, and shipping line/airline fees.

The body of the quote: The body of the quote is where the method of shipment will determine the pricing you get. Freight forwarders usually are given a discounted rate from shipping lines for a limited time frame (for certain sailing schedules), so keep in mind some of these rates may not last. Using the same principle, check if your selected freight forwarders are able to offer a better rate on your particular sailing date and shipping line.

The nitty gritty: Where your quotes may differ and where telltale signs of an unreasonable quote will occur is in the nitty gritty of the quote. These charges are usually in the fine print, or is an added line item that should not be there, such as consultation charges (check to see if this is mandatory).

Some Cautionary Tips


Not all freight companies will operate in the same way, therefore use the above as a guidance only. Your rate should not be the only factor determining whether you go with one freight forwarder or the other. It is simply an indication of the cost to transport freight which may help you plan your costs more efficiently. Furthermore, your given quote may not be the only charges that will incur. Insurance, duties, taxes, fumigation, detention, demurrage and loading/unloading costs will also be part of your cargo's journey to get to you safely. Therefore, make sure you allow in your budget for any unforeseen circumstances.

If you found this blog post helpful in anyway, share it and subscribe to our blog for more! You can find all of our blog posts in this series here. If you would like to submit a quote request, head over to our Contact page and fill out the form and we will be in contact shortly.

Whale Logistics are Australia’s leading Freight Forwarder and Logistics company located in Sydney and Melbourne. We deliver digital-focused freight forwarding services such as Australian customs parcel tracking, parcel delivery box, and comprehensive ocean, air and road freight solutions. For cost competitive and innovative freight forwarding solutions, or if you want to get in touch with one of our Customer Success Managers, drop us a line and we will be in touch shortly.

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