Any-Quantity (AQ) rate
The AQ rate is a pricing model used in the freight and cargo industry. It is also known as the any-quantity rate, the all-quantity rate, or the unlimited quantity rate. Under this pricing model, a customer is charged a single price for shipping an unlimited quantity of goods. This contrasts with other pricing models, such as per-unit shipping rates or weight-based shipping rates, which charge customers based on the number of items being shipped or the weight of the shipment.
The AQ rate is often used by businesses that need to ship large quantities of goods but do not know the exact size or weight of those goods. It allows them to avoid having to calculate and pay for individual shipments, and instead pay only for the amount shipped. For example, if a company ships several items that are different sizes and weights, but not enough to qualify for another shipping rate, the business may opt to use AQ rates over having to figure out what each shipment should cost.
AQ rates can also be beneficial for customers who want to ship very large or heavy single pieces of cargo. Because it is not always economical or practical to break down shipments into smaller units based on weight or size, using AQ rates allows these customers to pay fewer fees than they would under other pricing models.
However, this type of pricing model can work against certain types of shippers as well. Individuals shipping small packages that don’t meet minimum-shipment requirements (such as the minimum weight or size) may end up paying more for their shipment than they would under another pricing model.
For example, if a customer ships several small non-qualifying packages using AQ rates, the flat rate paid for all of the goods combined will be higher than it would have been if each shipment were broken out individually.
In general, an AQ shipment is defined as any shipment where the number of units and/or weight does not meet a minimum threshold that has been determined by the carrier or its agent. Using a table to define which shipments should qualify for AQ rates can also help prevent customers from being charged incorrectly for their shipments.
When determining an appropriate tariff code for a shipment under this pricing model, carriers take into account factors such as size and weight limitations along with payment flexibility features such as collect on delivery (COD) or bill at destination (B/L). This means that AQ rates may not be available for all shipping lanes.
AQ shipment pricing is often used in conjunction with high-value shipment insurance coverage, since the value of goods often exceeds any minimum limits associated with standard shipping rates. Coverage can vary based on the nature of the shipment, so it is important to work closely with carriers to determine the proper level of insurance needed for each individual transport.