General Rate Increase (GRI) in Shipping: All You Need to Know

General Rate Increase (GRI) in Shipping

The shipping industry is constantly changing, and one of the most common changes is the General Rate Increase or GRI. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about GRIs, from how they work to how they can impact your shipping rates. We’ll also provide some tips on how you can prepare…

The shipping industry is constantly changing, and one of the most common changes is the General Rate Increase or GRI. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about GRIs, from how they work to how they can impact your shipping rates. We’ll also provide some tips on how you can prepare for a GRI.

At DFreight, we understand the impact GRIs can have on your business. We can work with you to develop a shipping strategy that minimizes the impact of these increases. Get a free quote today to learn more.

What Is a General Rate Increase (GRI)?

A General Rate Increase (GRI) is a price increase applied to all goods or services in a particular market. GRIs are often used by businesses to offset increases in the cost of production or to pass on increases in the cost of raw materials. GRIs can also be used to increase prices in response to changes in demand or to reduce the number of goods or services supplied to increase profits or revenue management. General Rate Increases are usually announced well in advance, giving customers time to adjust their budgets. They can also be implemented gradually over some time.

GRIs can be imposed by businesses unilaterally, or they may be the result of negotiations between buyers and sellers. When GRIs are imposed unilaterally, they are often accompanied by other changes in terms and conditions, such as reductions in discounts or changes in payment terms. When GRIs are the result of negotiations, the terms of the agreement are typically set out in a contract.

GRIs typically take effect immediately or after a short period of notice. The length of time that a GRI remains in effect varies but is typically several months.

GRIs can have a significant impact on businesses and consumers alike. Businesses may find it difficult to pass on GRIs to their customers, as they may be unwilling or unable to pay higher prices. This can lead to a reduction in sales and may result in businesses cutting costs to remain profitable. Consumers may be reluctant to pay higher prices and switch to alternative suppliers or products. This can lead to a reduction in the number of goods or services demanded and may result in businesses experiencing reduced profits or losses.

GRIs can have several different effects on businesses, consumers, and the economy as a whole. Considering these effects is essential when deciding whether to implement a GRI.

How Often Do General Rate Increases Occur?

Most major carriers announce General Rate Increases (GRIs) once or twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. These carrier-wide rate increases usually range from 3% to 5%. Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers have been hit particularly hard in recent years by the rising cost of fuel, insurance, and other operating expenses. To offset these rising costs and maintain profitability, LTL carriers have been forced to implement multiple GRI’s in some years.

In addition to the GRI’s announced by the major carriers, shippers also need to be aware of the “mini-GRI’s” that often occur throughout the year. These are the unannounced yet routine increases that carriers will implement on specific lanes or for specific commodities to remain competitive and/or profitable on those lanes/commodities. While these mini-GRI’s are typically smaller in scope than the major GRI’s (usually 1-2%), they can still significantly impact a shipper’s transportation budget.

Shippers must stay informed of the current market conditions and be proactive in their transportation planning to avoid being caught off guard by a GRI or mini-GRI. By working closely with their logistics provider and staying up-to-date on industry news, shippers can be prepared for the impact of a GRI and take steps to minimize the financial impact on their business.

What Is the Impact of General Rate Increases On Shipping Rates?

GRIs typically apply to all shipments booked on or after a specific date. The date is usually announced well in advance so that shippers can plan for the additional cost. The size increase can vary, but it is usually a percentage of the current shipping rates. For example, a GRI of 5% would add $5 to the cost of shipping a $100 item.

GRIs can significantly impact the cost of shipping, especially for companies that ship large volumes of goods. The GRI is often passed on to the shipper as a surcharge. This means that the total cost of shipping will go up, which can impact the bottom line for businesses.

There are a few ways to mitigate the impact of GRIs. One is to ship early before the GRI takes effect. This can be difficult if you don’t know the exact increase date, but it’s worth checking with your shipping company in advance. Another option is to negotiate with your shipping company. Many companies are willing to work with their customers to keep costs down, especially if you threaten to take your business elsewhere.

At the end of the day, the best way to deal with GRIs is to plan for them in advance. Knowing when they’re coming and how much they’ll impact your shipping costs, you can make the necessary adjustments to your budget. This will help ensure that your business can continue thriving despite the rising shipping cost.


General Rate Increases (GRIs) is a fact of life in the shipping industry. By understanding how they work and preparing in advance, you can minimize the impact on your business.

What is a General Rate Increase?

A general rate increase is a shipping rate increase that applies to all carriers across the board, usually occurring once or twice a year.

What causes General Rate Increases?

General rate increases are caused by fuel surcharges, inflation, and other operating costs.

How much do General Rate Increases typically increase rates by?

General rate increases typically increase rates by 2-5%.

How can I find the most competitive air cargo rates?

You can compare air cargo rates from various carriers by using online freight rate calculators or by contacting freight forwarders directly.

Source sciencedirect
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