Spot prices in logistics offer favourable transport options

In logistics, a spot price refers to the market transport price on a specific date. Spot prices are representative if they reflect actual prices over a certain period of time by being taken in regular intervals such as weekly or monthly. In logistics, it is also possible to order and carry out transports using spot prices. This has an advantage for carriers and forwarding agents: They can sell off available cargo space at relatively short notice. Shippers benefit from lower prices. However, spot prices are always somewhat detached from general price trends in logistics. The relationship between price and free cargo space is always based on actual circumstances due to the difficulty of accurately forecasting cargo space utilisation in logistics. That means today's prices may be obsolete tomorrow. However, at a given moment in time, spot prices represent a favourable booking option. Many freight forwarders now offer online-based spot price calculators that output current spot prices based on the route, requested transport times and additional services.

How do you calculate freight costs?

Freight cost calculations generally depend on several factors. This includes fixed costs for containers or customs duties. Transport costs also differ depending on route and means of transport. The cost is determined by various freight rates.

Other factors include route frequencies and ancillary costs. In ocean freight, freight rates different depending on whether you are shipping full container loads (FCL) or less than container loads (LCL). With FCL, the cost of booking a complete container depends on volume and size alone. LCL costs, in contrast, are calculated on a pro rata basis: Since shippers only book a part of the container, the cost is calculated according to the size or volume of the cargo they are shipping. The cost includes the shipping company's freight rates along with port costs, delivery costs and customs duties. The cost factors in air freight – airport charges, customs duties, etc. – are similar to those in ocean freight.

White icon for daily price on light blue square.

Prices in air cargo and land transport

The air freight rate is determined by the airlines, who are the carriers in this situation, and is calculated by kilogram. Note: this is a dimensional weight. The price also depends on the route, route frequency and current demand. Freight costs for road transport are also calculated based on the customer's wish to have freight transported as FTL or to share cargo space with other shippers as LTL. Freight rates are set by the forwarder based on the market, demand and route. The actual cost of the truck - including fuel, tolls, surcharges - defines the main run. The price may also include costs for pick-up, delivery, cargo handling and customs.

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