Freight costs soared nearly 50% in the last year and don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Freight shipping charges are a key cost of doing business. Unfortunately, they are uncertain and susceptible to change.

The good news is they are not a total mystery since they depend on several influential factors. Keep reading to discover what influences freight shipping costs.


The distance freight travels is one of the leading influencers of freight shipping costs. You need to consider the fees charged at various ports if shipping products via sea. Exchange rates play a significant role in freight costs when shipping via air.

The farther freight travels, the higher freight shipping costs will be. There is little you can do to reduce the shipping distance. However, getting closer to the customer can save you money in shipping and delivery costs. Consider setting up fulfillment centers at key locations.

Product Characteristics

The products you’re shipping affect freight charges in different ways. For instance, transporting bulky items such as furniture is more expensive than clothing. Other product characteristics that influence shipping charges include:

  • Stow-ability (ease and efficiency of storage)
  • Liability (e.g. cargo insurance)
  • Ease of handling

Customs and Duties

You’ll be dealing with strict customs regulations shipping to international destinations. Different countries charge varying fees, which will affect freight costs.

Customers are usually liable for these charges. However, it’s good business to ensure customs fees don’t take your customers by surprise. Include the necessary customs and duties information in your shipping policy.

Speaking of regulations, different governments place strict restrictions on certain goods. Regulations governing dangerous goods and weight limitations might affect freight charges.


In the past 1-2 years, a series of disruptions have changed the working norm. A pandemic hit. Shortages and weather strikes occurred.

These disruptions affected the supply chain and as a result, transportation needs and freight charges changed. These factors forced freight agents to reroute deliveries and adjust shipping needs. Disruptions affect budgets and can result in increased freight shipping costs at the final hour.

Fuel Costs

Carriers need fuel to get freight from point A to point B. As a result, fluctuating fuel costs are a leading factor affecting freight charges. Lower fuel costs reduce the cost of operating trucks, airplanes, and ships, minimizing the cost of transporting bulk items. Higher fuel costs increase freight charges.

Learn More About Your Freight Shipping Costs

Understanding what influences freight shipping costs can help you leverage cost-saving benefits. It will help you avoid overspending on freight charges and fasten the growth of your business.

Consider signing up for Kopf’s Agent Program. We offer the support, expertise, and financial backing needed to build a successful freight agency. Contact us today to get started and learn more about what we have to offer.