More often than not, when looking to move your product from A to B, you want to know what the shipping costs are. However, several factors go into the total cost of moving a product. Freight costs can account for a large proportion of total costs, but they are not the only factor in the equation. Supply chain and shipping decisions should be based on total landed cost, rather than just the freight rate, meaning companies must utilise analytical tools to understand their business entirely.

What Is Total Landed Cost?

Total landed cost takes into account the costs associated with getting a product onto the shelves or into the hands of the customer. This can include sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, duties and taxes, and inventory costs. Only costs that directly relate to the product and its shipment should be included, so expenses such as office rent, or software are not figured into the total landed cost. Analysing the entire supply chain in this manner will also enable logistics managers to determine where the high costs are and find ways to reduce them.

How to Calculate the Landed Cost

The factors that affect the total landed cost are usually variable, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact number:

Cost of Goods: Variable depending on unit price and quantity

Freight: Depends on volume, destination, time of year, and carrier used

Duties and Taxes: A percentage that is based on the customs value

The Unit Landed Cost is determined by the Total Landed Cost/Number of Units. For example, you have a product with a unit price of $10 and a label that costs $0.15 per item. You ship 1,000 units directly to Amazon from a factory, FBA Warehouse including all duties and fees, for $2000. The unit landed cost is calculated as follows:


1000 Units x $10.00 per Unit = $10,000

1000 Units x $0.15 per Unit for Label = $150

Freight Cost for all 1,000 Units = $2000


UNIT LANDED COST = $12,150/1000 = $12.15



Landed costs are also important when calculating profitability and determining them earlier in the production process will ensure supply chain costs are as expected. Getting a better understanding of gross margin can enable more accurate prediction of profitability and allow for better sourcing and distribution decisions.

Global Trading

Total landed cost is just as significant in international transactions. Global markets and ports continue to be busy, and freight rates are rising. Import duties, freight, and insurance are all direct costs that affect gross margin. As they usually apply to an entire container rather than an individual product, charges can vary between shipments for the same product depending on when it is shipped.

When looking for a supplier for raw materials or parts, buyers should calculate the landed costs before importing the goods. There may be numerous factors that need to be considered, so it is best to order a small batch as a trial instead of an entire large order.

Total landed cost helps with budget management for the entire supply chain and provides an accurate gross margin for each unit of stock. By incorporating total landed cost into the financial calculations, businesses can generate more accurate reports to guide decision making for increased profitability.

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