Essential Guide to Air Freight

How Much is Air Freight Per Kg

Here’s an estimated range for post-Covid-19 air freight cost per kg in Singapore:

  • Small packages (less than 10 kg): $2.50 – $5.00 per kg
  • Larger shipments (over 10 kg): $2.00 – $4.00 per kg
  • Bulk shipments (over 100 kg): $1.50 – $3.00 per kg


Let’s say you want to ship a 5 kg package from Singapore to London via standard air freight. Based on the estimated range, the cost could be:

  • Low-end: 5 kg * $2.50/kg = $12.50
  • High-end: 5 kg * $5.00/kg = $25.00

It’s important to note that these are just estimates. You should always contact a reputable air freight forwarder or shipping company for an accurate quote. They will consider all the abovementioned factors and provide you with a personalized quote.

Here are some resources to help you compare air freight rates in Singapore:

By comparing quotes from different companies, you can get the best possible price for your air freight needs in Singapore.

How Much is 1CBM in Air Freight

 1 CBM shipment would have a volumetric weight of 167 kg for air freight calculations.

You can use the dimensional weight formula to find the equivalent weight of 1 CBM for air freight purposes.

Here’s the formula:

**Volumetric Weight (kg) = Volume (m³) x Dimensional Factor (kg/m³) **


Let’s assume you have a shipment with a volume of 1 CBM. Using the formula and a dimensional factor of 167 kg/m³:

Volumetric Weight = 1 CBM x 167 kg/m³ = 167 kg

Generally, 1 CBM in air freight can cost between $150 and $500. Here’s a breakdown:

Small packages (less than 10 kg): $2.50 – $5.00 per kg, translating to roughly $150 – $300 per CBM. Larger shipments (over 10 kg): $2.00 – $4.00 per kg, translating to approximately $120 – $240 per CBM. Bulk shipments (over 100 kg): $1.50 – $3.00 per kg, translating to roughly $90 – $180 per CBM.

Here are some resources to compare air freight rates:

By comparing quotes and providing accurate information, you can ensure you get the best possible price for your air freight shipment.

Why is Air Freight Expensive

Air freight is expensive compared to other shipping modes like sea freight for several key reasons:

High operating costs:

  • Fuel: Jet fuel is significantly more expensive than the fuel used by ships, directly impacting transportation costs.
  • Airport charges: Airlines pay significant charges for landing, take-off, and other airport services.
  • Aircraft maintenance: Aircraft aeroplanes are expensive due to their complex technology.
  • Labour costs: Hiring and training qualified pilots and aviation personnel is costly.

Limited capacity:

  • Airplanes have significantly less cargo space than cargo ships, leading to higher costs per unit of cargo transported.
  • Demand often exceeds supply, especially for specific routes or time-sensitive deliveries, further driving up prices.


  • Air freight offers the fastest delivery times among all shipping options. This premium on speed comes at a cost, as airlines must prioritize speedier turnaround times and utilize resources efficiently.

Regulations and safety:

  • Strict air safety regulations and security measures contribute to higher airline operating costs.
  • Specific packaging and handling requirements for certain types of cargo can also add to the expense.

Other factors:

  • Competition: While the air cargo market is competitive, the high barriers to entry limit the number of players, impacting price dynamics.
  • Global economic conditions: Fluctuations in fuel prices, currency exchange rates, and other economic factors can influence air freight costs.

In summary, the combination of high operating costs, limited capacity, and the premium on speed makes air freight a more expensive option compared to other shipping methods. However, its undeniable advantage in terms of delivery speed makes it valuable for time-sensitive or high-value goods.

How Much Does It Cost to Send Air Freight

Based on current post-Covid-19 estimates, here’s a table showing the approximate air freight cost per kilogram (kg) from Singapore to various destinations:

Destination Estimated Cost (SGD/kg) for Small Packages (<10kg) Estimated Cost (SGD/kg) for Larger Shipments (>10kg)
London, UK $3 – $5 $2.50 – $4.50
New York, USA $4 – $6 $3 – $5
Sydney, Australia $3.50 – $5.50 $3 – $5
Tokyo, Japan $3.50 – $5.50 $3 – $5
Shanghai, China $2 – $4 $1.50 – $3
Hong Kong $2 – $4 $1.50 – $3
Mumbai, India $4 – $6 $3 – $5
Dubai, UAE $4 – $6 $3 – $5
Frankfurt, Germany $3.50 – $5.50 $3 – $5
Paris, France $3.50 – $5.50 $3 – $5

Please note: These are just estimates, and the actual cost can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The exact weight and dimensions of your shipment
  • Type of cargo
  • Speed of delivery
  • Airline and freight forwarders used

Contacting a reputable air freight forwarder or shipping company in Singapore is always best for a more accurate quote. They can provide you with a personalized quote based on your specific needs.

Is Air Freight Expensive

Air freight costs in Singapore can be slightly higher than in some nearby countries for smaller packages and oversized shipments, but they are more competitive for bulk shipments.

Here’s a breakdown of the comparison:

Estimated cost per kg for different categories:

  • Small packages:
    • Singapore: $2.50 – $5.00
    • Nearby countries: $2.00 – $4.00
  • Large shipments:
    • Singapore: $2.00 – $4.00
    • Nearby countries: $1.50 – $3.00
  • Bulk shipments:
    • Singapore: $1.50 – $3.00
    • Nearby countries: $2.00 – $3.50

Here’s why Singapore might be slightly more expensive for smaller packages and large shipments:

  • Higher operational costs: Singapore’s Changi Airport levies higher landing and handling fees than neighbouring airports.
  • Demand and competition: Intense competition in nearby countries like Malaysia and Thailand can drive down prices for smaller shipments.

However, Singapore offers several advantages for bulk shipments:

  • Efficient infrastructure: Changi Airport boasts efficient cargo handling facilities and modern technology, facilitating faster processing and lower costs for larger shipments.
  • Strong trade network: Singapore’s extensive trade network and connections with significant airlines provide competitive bulk shipping rates.

Is Air Freight the Same As Air Cargo

Although the terms “air freight” and “air cargo” are often used interchangeably, they have subtle differences in meaning:

Air cargo refers to the goods themselves that are transported by air. This can include anything from luggage and personal belongings to industrial machinery and perishable goods.

Air freight refers to the cost of transporting the air cargo. It encompasses the fees airlines or freight forwarders charge for shipping the goods by air.

Here’s a summary of the key differences:

Feature Air Cargo Air Freight
Definition Goods transported by air Cost of transporting goods by air
Focus Physical goods Financial cost
Examples Luggage, electronics, machinery Fees, charges, rates

Here’s an analogy to illustrate the difference:

  • Air cargo is like the food you buy at a grocery store.
  • Air freight is like the price you pay for the food.

While both are essential components of the air transport process, they represent different aspects: the physical goods and the associated cost.

However, in everyday use, the terms “air freight” and “air cargo” are often used interchangeably, and most people understand the meaning regardless of which term is used.

What Can Be Shipped by Air Freight

A wide variety of items can be shipped by air freight, but some restrictions and regulations are depending on the specific goods and destination. Here’s a general overview:

Items typically shipped by air freight:

  • Documents and small packages: Letters, contracts, invoices, passports, small electronics, etc.
  • High-value goods: Jewelry, precious metals, artwork, antiques, etc.
  • Perishable goods: Fresh produce, seafood, cut flowers, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • Urgent or time-sensitive items: Medical supplies, spare parts, prototypes, etc.
  • Live animals: Under specific regulations and with proper permits.
  • Dangerous goods: Under strict regulations and packaging requirements, certain hazardous materials are allowed.

Items typically not allowed by air freight:

  • Explosives and flammable liquids: Highly flammable materials like gasoline, propane, or fireworks.
  • Toxic and radioactive materials: Poisonous substances that pose a health risk.
  • Corrosive materials: Substances that can damage other goods or aircraft.
  • Magnetized materials: Strong magnets that can interfere with aircraft instruments.
  • Live animals without proper permits: Certain species or animals without necessary documentation.
  • Illegal goods: Any items prohibited by international or national law.

It’s always important to check with your chosen air freight carrier or a regulatory body to confirm if your specific item is allowed for shipment. Additionally, specific packaging requirements may apply, depending on the type of goods.

Here are some resources to check for specific item restrictions:

Remember, even if an item is allowed for air freight, specific weight, size, and quantity limitations might apply. Always provide accurate information about your shipment to avoid delays or complications.