How DIMwits measure up

09 / 08 / 2013

  • Air Cargo News editor Nigel Tomkins

    Air Cargo News editor Nigel Tomkins

YOU don’t need to be a mathematician to be an airfreight forwarder, but it helps.

Forwarding is clearly for DIMwits, because calculating the chargeable ‘dimensional’ weight – the DIM factor of any individual shipment – can be a complex affair and usually makes the difference between profit and loss.

Over many years, forwarders have mastered the art of blending dense and volumetric cargoes in order to create profitable consolidations. It’s what they do.

The problem is that no-one has yet invented the flexible, expandable aircraft fuselage capable of accommodating any type of consignment, at any time. On every flight, air-lines face the prospect of run-ning out of their weightlifting capability before running out of their volume capacity – and vice versa.

In general, airlines prefer dense freight because of the way they have constructed their pricing. To combat yield decline – and because fuselages are fixed in their size – airlines need the perfect mix of volumetric and dense shipments in order to optimise their cargo revenue. They have pre-set chargeable ‘minimums’ to protect them from volumetric yield erosion.

Actual weight has traditionally been the baseline for pricing strategies.

But suddenly and, without any warning, it seems, carriers have decided to boost their surcharge revenues (page 3 story) by applying the ‘charge-able’ weight/volume discipline to how those levies are calculated.

I feel there’s a big industry disagreement brewing here.

And is there another precedent being set: airlines charging extra for overweight, volumetric . . . passengers?