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Currency Adjustment Factor

Jun 28, 2022Introduction to Trade

What is CAF in Shipping, and how does it work?

CAF, or currency adjustment factor, is a charge that shipping companies may add to invoices to account for changes in currency exchange rates. This charge is also sometimes called a currency surcharge. CAF is a way for shipping companies to protect themselves from losses due to fluctuating currency values.

The CAF value is determined by the export destination and gets added over base exchange rates. As a rule of thumb, you should know that this rate adjustment most commonly occurs for goods traveling from America to any Pacific rim country where currency fluctuations may cause shipping costs increases due in part on these variations so it ensures they don’t bear any loss through increased prices resulting form those changes

When importing or exporting products into/from your home country there will likely be some kind of fee associated with delivering them which includes both physical delivery as well as handling all customs forms required before releasing items upon release.

The CAF offers price security against volatile currencies, which makes it a popular option. shippers can expect to see lower costs when using this program as opposed with other programs that don’t include currency adjustments for fluctuations in the exchange rate environment since their agreements are all-inclusive

CAF Surcharges

The CAF surcharge is a fee that shipping companies add to invoices in order for them take into account changes caused by fluctuating currency exchange rates. This type of charge also goes by the name, “currency conversion.” It protects trade businesses from any financial losses resulting from these fluctuations and helps ensure they are able make accurate predictions about future revenue streams with greater accuracy than would otherwise be possible without this extra step taken during accounting periods end.

The CAF value is calculated based on the destination of the export and is added to the base exchange rate. In general, CAF is most commonly applied to goods being shipped from America to any Pacific rim country where currency fluctuations can cause shipping costs to increase. This surcharge ensures that the shipping company does not have to bear any loss due to rising prices resulting from currency changes.

The CAF Formula

In most cases, the currency adjustment factor is a surcharge that is added to ocean freight expenses.

Currency adjustment factor + freight rate = Currency adjusted freight rate

How Do You Calculate a Currency Adjustment Factor?

The carrier will charge a currency adjustment factor that they think is appropriate, but it’s usually between 1%-10%. In highly unpredictable markets or when currencies are volatile and fluctuating heavily throughout trading hours-the rate can be as high at 50%.

For example, assume that a 20-foot-long container (TEU) is being sent from Sydney, Australia to Hokkaido, Japan. The ocean freight for this shipment is estimated at $3000. A CAF fee of 2% is also levied on this shipment.

So, CAF will be US$ 3000 x 0.02 = $60

Currency adjustment factor + freight rate = currency adjusted freight rate

US$ 60 + US$ 3000 = US$ 3060

When does the CAF come into play?

There are two circumstances when the CAF can be used.

The first is after a carrier has evaluated and calculated final charges for freight carried, but not all at once—the second time they’ll apply it will also mean that some aspects of your bill were missed out on because you didn’t include them in initial estimates or forgot about things like duties/taxes along with other miscellaneous expenses which may appear throughout transportation instead.

How Can You Avoid CAF Surcharges?

The best way to avoid CAF is by negotiating an ‘all-inclusive’ freight charge with your carrier. ocean shipping companies offer this as part of their rates, but it’s important that you compare prices from other markets before making any agreements so both parties protect themselves against possible losses caused by fraud or other factors outside their control

Even if the price appears reasonable at first glance, it’s always a good idea to have some sort of negotiation in place.

It is critical to pay the preferred currency when traveling abroad to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Carriers will generally take dollars as payment for reservation fees and other domestic-only costs like as gasoline rates, but they need you to maintain an account in their home nation so that they may convert funds into local currency should there be a requirement or opportunity.

CAF in Supply Chain Management

The global economy is driven by fast-paced growth in supply chain management and international trade. This means that companies now deal with multiple currencies, which makes transactions more seamless for traders who are constantly on the move across borders (or between countries within one’s own). They need systems to make sure payments can be made easily at any time of day or night without hassle – especially since some people may not have access like others do due their location.

But in several instances, these supply chain payments are settled locally. These include situations where there is no centralized payment system or when multiple subsidiaries of a company individually pay for a service. In these cases, CAF surcharges may apply in order to ensure that service providers can convert the local currency into US dollars or another base currency.

The 4PLs provide global payment management services to remove the need for currency conversion fees, which can be expensive and time consuming.

Another great benefit of using this strategy is that it allows service providers access cash anytime they want through their US dollar account instead on having restrictions like other platforms do where you must wait until funds reach an escrow or foreign exchange rate becomes available before making payments.

As the world economy continues to globalization, the CAF will become more and more important for companies that want to avoid costly currency conversion fees.


If you are in the process of planning an international shipment, the first thing you should do is find out if the CAF applies to your situation. You can do this by contacting your freight forwarder or carrier and asking them about their policies on CAF. Once you have determined that the CAF does apply to your shipment, you should try to negotiate an all-inclusive freight rate with your carrier. This will help to avoid any unexpected charges down the road. It is also important to pay attention to the currencies you are using when making payments for your shipment. Make sure to pay in the preferred currency to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Finally, if you are using a 4PL for your supply chain management needs, they can provide global payment management services that will remove the need for currency conversion fees altogether. By following these tips, you can avoid costly CAF surcharges and keep your international shipments on track.


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