TravellerPlus
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:45 pm

How Do You Measure Freight?

Is there a standard unit of measure for freight? How do airlines measure the "load factor"? I am aware that is more complex than the passenger measures. Freight is a mix of weight and volume. eg you can send a plane out packed to the ceiling with cut flowers, but the maximum payload would not be reached as flowers weigh so little. In terms of measuring this, one can say that the plane is going out 100% full by the volume measure, but it is only going out 50% full if the unit of measure is weight. (Please note, the 50% is a theoretical number only).

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LAXintl
Posts: 21680
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

Depending on the carrier the base weight unit used is either metric Kilos, or imperial Pounds or the the imperial or metric Ton/Tonne. Freight is also measure size wise on a volume cubic basis.

Here are further details about freight measurement.
http://www.export911.com/e911/ship/w_or_m.htm
http://www.acuitivesolutions.com/calculator_compl.htm
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swa4life
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:20 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

At Southwest we go strictly by weight. it's impossible to try and account for the dimensions of various types of freight. It's usually a game time decision by the gate ramp agent what's going to go and what's not as he's the one doing the load plan. Believe me, that does become an issue at times too.. You'll see on an inbound dispatch report that you're getting 11 pieces at 850lbs, it could be little boxes, big boxes, bags, tubes, etc. It's especially bad when the freight is riding through to the next city because then you really have no idea what type of bin space you're working with until the plane actually lands and you can eyeball it, and you're forced to make an impromptu load plan last minute..

tb727
Posts: 1892
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:40 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Thread starter):Freight is a mix of weight and volume. eg you can send a plane out packed to the ceiling with cut flowers, but the maximum payload would not be reached as flowers weigh so little.

That is a common misconception. Flowers can be one of the heaviest loads you can haul.
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airtran737
Posts: 3261
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Thread starter):eg you can send a plane out packed to the ceiling with cut flowers, but the maximum payload would not be reached as flowers weigh so little.

As a loadmaster I can tell you that you are way off. I have left at max payload with positions open on the aircraft. You can build 9,000 lb pallet of flowers for the main deck with no problems. Flowers are about 90% water, and water is heavy
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contrails15
Posts: 371
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:46 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

In my airline we have a load planing departure. Without getting to into, they use a program that calculates how much bagage, cargo and mail can be loaded on to the plane without it going over its limit for whatever route its going to take, which is where dispatch comes in. Dispatch must clear everything from load planing not to mention have to figure out what seats to block out in the cabin if need be. People get moved before bags but this doesn't happen as much as I like. Its just easier.

Example As a lead I pick up the load plan. That will tell me how much of what I have going on. Say for a JFK-SEA flt which is one of our heavier flts. This is on an A320 so say you got 145 bags with 3500lbs of mail. 9 times out of ten you would put all the mail up front in bin 1 then 70 bags in bin 3, 50 bags in bin 4 and 25 bags in bin 5.

The worst mail you can get is International mail. You don't know what your getting and the freakin boxes can be a pound to 80 pounds. Cargo, god only knows. Produce, fish, flowers, clothes, engine parts, ect ect. cargo sucks but its the cash cow of my airline and most others. Hope that helps.
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TravellerPlus
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:45 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

Thanks. I don't want to get too hung up on the issue of flowers. I used it because I read a report in Airliner World magazine about Atlas Cargo who fly flowers from Ecuador on 747's. They said the flights always reach maximum volume before maximum payload. A better example would have been a friends kayak, it weighed less than 20kgs, but took up one third of the space in a 737's cargo hold.

What I really wanted to know is how airlines balance the two measures as both are important.
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Maverick623
Posts: 4681
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Thread starter):Is there a standard unit of measure for freight? How do airlines measure the "load factor"?

Weight, that's it. Obviously, for acceptance, the cargo department has a list of each bin door dimension, to ensure that we don't accept a piece that's too big to even get inside.

But other than that, throw it on a scale, print out a bar code, and send it to the plane.

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Thread starter):I am aware that is more complex than the passenger measures.

Actually, it's easier, if not the same.

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Thread starter):Freight is a mix of weight and volume. eg you can send a plane out packed to the ceiling with cut flowers, but the maximum payload would not be reached as flowers weigh so little. In terms of measuring this, one can say that the plane is going out 100% full by the volume measure, but it is only going out 50% full if the unit of measure is weight.

At my airline, we don't ever keep track of 'volume'. If we have to refuse some freight because of space limitations, we put that in the remarks on the refusal report. But when the numbers are crunched, our load percentage is based on weight planned over weight accepted.

 Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 6): What I really wanted to know is how airlines balance the two measures as both are important.

Simple: Keep loading until you either run out of freight, room, or weight. If we get a really large piece, and have to shift stuff around, a call to the load planner usually gets it taken care of.
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VIDP
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:56 am

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

Standard formula applied by the airlines for the cargo is chargeable weight = gross weight or volume weight of the shipment which ever is higher. All shipments which are planned on a passenger jet have a height limitation of 163 cms. Anything above this either has to go on a freighter as a main deck cargo or has to be tilted and then sent for which due permission is taken from the shipper.

Airlines also follow yeild management in cargo. There are two types of services offered Express and normal consol services. Express rates are typically double the normal consol rates and have a time delivery gurantee attached to it. Any airline taking up lots of express cargo round the year will have a better yeild. The rates are sold in the weight slab format with slabs being MIN, -45 kgs, +45 kgs, +100 kgs , +500 kgs and +1000 kgs. Any shipment around 1.5tonne or above spot rates are offered by the carrier depending upon the space availability and volume and any backlogs which is available with them.

Air freight rates are sold in the following way. Lets assume a 100 kg shipment has to go from LHR to JFK and rate sold is USD 2++ this mean the airfreight rate is per kg and surcharges are extra. Surcharges billed by the airlines which typically become a major part of the air freight amount is FSC (Fuel Surcharge) , ISS (International Security Surcharge), Xray ( Xray fee of the cargo) and AWC (Airway Bill Charge).

Incase of DG (Dangerous goods) there are different rates and DG handling and HAZ fee surcharges are also added over and above the normal surcharges. Typically hazardous cargo (fully blown DG) are not carried on passenger flights. Dangerous goods in excepted quantities depending upon airline policy are planned on passenger flights with due care.

hope this helps

tb727
Posts: 1892
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:40 pm

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

I do ad hoc freight charter flights. They get an airplane for "x" amount per mile, rates vary of course by a/c type. We don't charge by weight though, it can be 1 piece at 1 pound or 50 skids at 45,000 pounds, same price. Well then we have to add on load/offload fees and that varies by airport and amount of freight.

I also never generally never trust weights given to us by auto suppliers although they have gotten better in recent years. If there is ever a scale we have everything re-weighed if possible or at least spot checked.

Another problem I am told with the flowers is that they are weighed then before they are brought to the airport then when they are on the ramp, they get hosed down with water adding a lot of weight.
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fxra
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 1999 1:03 am

RE: How Do You Measure Freight?

WHen I loaded planes for a big purple box carrier, they had a "Dim Weight" calculation for examples, like the kayak, that are large but not particularly heavy. For example, 10000 lbs of frozen concentrated orange juice takes up one position where 10,000lbs of Pringles potato chips can take up 2 or 3. (Yes, I loaded both onto planes). So, in this case, we would charge pringles based on volume and the OJ people based on weight (generally speaking, the could have a blocked space agreement, a contractual agreement, negotiate based on space available, etc..).

The express boxes worked pretty much the same way. A large box full of, say ping pong balls, would be charged based on the volume, with some formula used to determine how much a box of that size "should" weigh.

So, for heavy cargo you can sell it by weight or by space, usually depending on what makes you the most
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