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Freight (or freight , freight wages ) in the freight business is the remuneration that a carrier receives for the carriage of goods agreed in the freight contract .


Colloquially, freight is sometimes also understood to be the freight itself, but the legal term freight only refers to the freight costs. The word freight originally comes from Low German / Middle Low German , where it appeared as vracht in the meaning of "freight money" or "ship's load". A Hamburg statute from 1292 spoke of the skipper taking his "vracht".

According to the principle “goods debts are collect debts”, a sales contract only obliges the seller to make the goods available at the place of performance . The buyer is responsible for the further transport and the assumption of the costs, unless otherwise agreed in the sales contract.

Legal issues

In accordance with Section 407 of the German Commercial Code (HGB), the freight forwarder is obliged by the freight contract to transport the freight to the destination and deliver it to the recipient there ; the sender is obliged to pay the agreed freight. A waybill is issued for the freight contract ( § 408 HGB). This applies to most means of transport , namely by land (road: CMR consignment note , rail: rail waybill ), by water (only for inland shipping : loading note ) or in the air ( air waybill ). The Maritime is regulated separately and knows the bill of lading ( § 513 HGB) or, alternatively, the bill of lading ( § 526 HGB).

The freight is payable in accordance with Section 420 Paragraph 1 HGB upon delivery of the freight. The recipient has to pay the freight still owed up to the amount shown on the consignment note. Since both the sender and the recipient are liable for the freight ( Section 421 Paragraph 2 HGB), there is a legal obligation to assume liability (Section 421 Paragraph 4 HGB). For the unpaid freight, the carrier has a statutory right of lien on the freight in accordance with Section 440 (1) HGB .

economic aspects

In the retail pricing , the cargo is purchasing a portion of the purchase costs represent, but which also additionally the drayage , any loading costs and fees, as well as further with the transport Related Undesirable costs ( transportation costs may include) or customs duties.

In cost accounting, freight is part of shipping costs , which in turn represent part of sales costs . Who pays them is regulated in the delivery conditions , which mostly refer to postage , trade terms or the Incoterms . "Carriage of destination" ( English carriage free / paid , CF / CP) means that the seller / exporter the total shipping costs up to the agreed receiving station ( train station , extinguishing space or airport transfers at the receiver), while the buyer / importer to lag ( " drayage II ") must take over. The reverse is true for the “ free domicile” clause , according to which the supplier bears the entire transport costs to the recipient of the goods. In the case of “ unfree ”, the seller / exporter only takes on the carriage of the first leg ('carriage I'), while the buyer / importer has to bear the freight of the main carriage and the carriage of the onward carriage ('carriage II').

In operational accounting and the calculation of prices input and output loads can be distinguished. Inbound freight is the cost that the supplier charges the recipient. For the recipient, they are part of the procurement costs and are also taken into account when assessing the purchased goods. Outgoing freights are transport costs that the seller incurs when delivering to his customer. They are part of the shipping costs and are often not included in the calculation of the sales price, but are shown separately.

The place from which the buyer has to pay the freight costs is called the "freight base". It can be stipulated in a contract and does not necessarily have to match the location from which delivery is actually made. This can be important, for example, if a company delivers from several plants. If the place of receipt is not specified when the contract is concluded, a "freight parity" can be agreed. This is the place to which the seller takes the freight, even if delivery is actually made to a different location.

While the amount of the transport fee was regulated by the state until 1992 and regulated in the long-distance freight transport tariff (GFT), since the abolition of the binding GFT the transport fees in the charter business have generally been freely agreed between the contracting parties. When completed at a fixed total amount for the charge regardless of the weight or measure of space, it is called a flat cargo ( English lump sum ). Heavy goods are usually billed according to weight, light goods according to the volume in cubic meters.


In Switzerland , the carrier takes on the obligation in a freight contract to carry out the transport of goods in return for a fee for the sender ( Art. 440 para. 1 OR ). A freight forwarder according to Art. 439 OR takes over the dispatch of goods in his own name, but for the account of the sender. In contrast to the freight carrier, however, he does not transport the goods himself, but merely organizes the transport or concludes freight contracts with third parties for the physical transport.

In Austria , the freight law is Commercial Code (UGB) in § § 425 et seq. UGB regulated. In § 446 UGB the contract of carriage is mentioned but not defined. Thereafter, the provisions of the freight contract not included in the loading slip are ineffective for the recipient. It must therefore be ensured that the content of the consignment note and the freight contract match.


  • Rolf-Günther Nolden, Ernst Bizer: Special Economics Industry. Stam Verlag, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-8237-1559-3
  • Thomas Wieske: Transport law quickly captured , 3rd edition, Berlin Heidelberg 2012, publisher: Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-29725-0
  • Olaf Hartenstein, Fabian Reuschle (eds.): Handbook of the specialist lawyer for transport and forwarding law , 3rd edition, Cologne 2015, Carl Heymanns publishing house, ISBN 978-3-452-28142-5
  • Ingo Koller: Transport law. Commentary , 9th edition, Munich 2016, Verlag CH Beck, ISBN 978-3-406-70113-9

Web links

Wiktionary: Freight  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Köbler , Etymologisches Rechtswört erbuch, 1995, p. 134
  2. Hamburg statutes from the years 1270, 1276, 1292 and 1497, 1782, p. 109
  3. Peter Bülow, Commercial Law , 2009, p. 185
  4. Springer Fachmedien GmbH (ed.), Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon , Volume I, 2004, p. 593
  5. Claus-Wilhelm Canarfis / Wolfgang Schilling / Peter Ulmer (eds.) / Hermann Staub, Commercial Code: Großkommentar , 2004, p. 70
  6. Gerd Baumann, Logistic Processes. Jobs in warehouse logistics , 2004, p. 36 ff.