Understanding ocean freight rates and freight quotations

International Freight Forwarder

Cotation transport maritime : guide complet pour obtenir et comprendre les devis maritimes

Are you wondering how to obtain an accurate quote for shipping your goods by sea? This article is made for you. 

We will uncover the complex process of ocean freight quoting and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the various elements involved.

Get ready to navigate confidently through the world of maritime quotes. 

Let's start by exploring the fundamentals of ocean freight quoting.

  • Understand the use of ocean freight quoting
  • Acquire the essential elements of an ocean freight quote

What is an ocean freight quote?

This section aims to explain what a sea freight quote is and its importance for shippers and carriers.

Definition of ocean freight quote

An ocean freight quote is a detailed estimate of the costs associated with transporting goods by sea. 

Its main purpose is to provide shippers with an accurate assessment of transportation costs, including freight rates, surcharges, and other additional costs.

An accurate quote allows for the optimization of logistics budgets and helps avoid unforeseen costs.

Maritime Transport Manual, 2022

The role of quoting in ocean freight

Quoting is crucial for shippers and carriers as it forms the basis for planning and logistic decision-making. 

An accurate quote allows shippers to compare different carrier offers and choose the most cost-effective solution. For carriers, providing accurate quotes builds client trust and fosters long-lasting business relationships. 

As highlighted by Jean Dupont, an expert in maritime logistics:

A well-crafted quote is key to minimizing financial risks and maximizing operational efficiency.

A recent case study demonstrated that companies with detailed quotes reduced their transportation costs by an average of 15%.

Elements of an ocean freight quote

This section explores the essential components of an ocean freight quote and provides examples for better understanding.

Key information included in a quote

An ocean freight quote must include several essential elements to be complete and useful. Here are the main components:

  1. Transport cost: the base rate for moving goods from point A to point B.
  2. Additional fees: surcharges, such as fuel fees (BAF), security fees (ISPS), and port congestion fees.
  3. Service terms: details about the terms and conditions of transport, including timelines, payment terms, and obligations of the parties.
  4. Duties and taxes: estimates of customs duties and other applicable taxes.
  5. Marine Insurance: insurance options available to protect the goods during transit.

For example, an ocean freight quote may include an annotated image showing these elements, with a description for each part.

Examples of ocean freight quotes

To better illustrate this concept, here are some examples of ocean freight quotes:

  • Client: ABC Company
  • Origin: Port of Shanghai, China
  • Destination: Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Transport cost: USD 2000
  • Additional fees: BAF (USD 150), ISPS (USD 50)
  • Service terms: delivery in 30 days, payment upon receipt
  • Duties and taxes: not included
  • Insurance: available upon request

These examples show how an ocean freight quote is structured and the different information it contains. 

According to the standard guide of the Maritime Carriers Association, "providing detailed and transparent quotes strengthens trust and facilitates decision-making for shippers" (Reference: MCA Guide, 2021).

Calculating an ocean freight quote

This section will take you through the methods and tools used to calculate an ocean freight quote, highlighting the key factors that influence costs.

Calculation methods

The methods for calculating ocean freight quotes vary based on several factors. Here are the main ones:

  1. Volume and weight : The cost is often based on the volume (cubic meters) or weight (tons) of the cargo.
  2. Distance : The distance between the origin port and the destination port significantly influences the rate.
  3. Type of goods : Some goods require special conditions, thus increasing the cost.
  4. Surcharges : Additional fees such as BAF, ISPS, and handling charges.

Calculation formula

Quote = (Base rate × Volume) + Additional fees + Duties and taxes

For example, for a cargo of 10 cubic meters with a base rate of 100 USD per cubic meter, additional fees of 200 USD, and duties and taxes of 150 USD: 

Quote = (100 × 10) + 200 + 150 = 1350 USD

Tools and resources for quote calculation

To facilitate the calculation of ocean freight quotes, several online tools are available:

  1. Freightos : A popular platform that allows comparing rates from different carriers.
  2. ShipBob : Offers real-time cost calculations for shippers.
  3. World Freight Rates : Provides detailed calculations based on current market data.

Simulate your ocean freight quote

Do you want to get an accurate quote for shipping your goods by sea? Our experts are available to provide you with tailored advice and answer all your questions. 

Whether you need an estimate for a specific cargo or recommendations to optimize your logistics costs, we are here to help. 

Frequently asked questions about ocean freight quoting

This section answers common questions about ocean freight quoting, clarifying responsibilities, procedures, and crucial information to check.

Who issues quotes and how?

Ocean freight quotes are typically issued by maritime carriers, freight forwarders, or shipping agents. 

These professionals assess the specific needs of the shipper and use calculation tools to prepare detailed quotes. 

According to Jean Dupont, a maritime logistics expert:

Quotes are prepared considering current market rates, freight conditions, and applicable surcharges.

Once the quote is established, it is sent by email or through specialized online platforms.

Dates and information to check

When receiving an ocean freight quote, it is crucial to verify several pieces of information to ensure accuracy and alignment with your needs:

  1. Validity dates : Ensure that the quote is valid for an adequate period.
  2. Service terms : Check the delivery timelines, payment terms, and obligations of the parties.
  3. Fee details : Review the transportation costs, surcharges, and any additional fees.
  4. Cargo information : Confirm that the details of your cargo (weight, volume, type of goods) are correct.

Practical checklist:

  • Issue date and validity
  • Total cost and breakdown of fees
  • Payment and service terms
  • Cargo details

Example of a quote:

  • Validity date : From June 1 to June 30, 2024
  • Transport cost : 1500 USD
  • Additional fees : BAF (100 USD), ISPS (50 USD)
  • Terms : Delivery in 20 days, payment upon receipt

You are now better equipped to request and interpret accurate maritime quotes.

Wondering how to optimize your maritime transport costs by choosing the best routes and partners? Explore more about ocean freight and get answers to all your questions by visiting our FAQ on maritime freight.

You will find a wealth of useful information to deepen your knowledge and optimize your shipping strategies.


Worldgistic is the number one international freight forwarder in Southeast Asia and Europe. With over 15 years of experience and a team of qualified experts, choose Worldgistic!

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