Introduction to transporting your goods

Weights, measures and the movement of goods


The costs you'll incur when shipping your goods will depend on which form of transport and route you choose. Quotes will vary from operator to operator and from freight forwarder to freight forwarder.

Sea transport

Sea transport tariffs may include ocean rates, terminal charges and a range of surcharges. Ocean rates are normally quoted in US dollars, so the price you pay will be calculated on the day of your consignment's departure, based on the current exchange rate.


Airfreight prices are set by the Official Rates Policy, which is published in The Air Cargo Tariff.

Airfreight is charged at a per-kilogram rate, with discounts for higher volumes. It's usually carried by either regular (scheduled) or charter flights. Consignments may be spread over a number of charter flights.

Express operators offer door-to-door services, providing transportation systems in which the location and progress of packages is constantly tracked. They also provide cross-border clearance and collection of payments from customers. Shipments are usually charged by their weight, and door-to-door rates include all additional charges that may become due. Express operators specialise in delivering time-sensitive and/or smaller consignments.

Box rates

You may be quoted a price based on 'box' or 'freight all kinds' rates. These rates are a lump sum based on a full container, irrespective of the goods you are shipping. Prices for less-than-full containers are usually quoted as a rate-per-weight measure of 1,000 kilograms/1 metre cubed. Some cargoes will have particular rates based on the goods shipped (also known as commodity rates). These can include dangerous goods, goods requiring refrigeration - reefer cargoes - and waste paper.

Finished goods

If you are transporting finished goods, including their packaging, you must be aware of the Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006.