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Shipping & Freight



Dimensional Weight

Background

The shipping industry around the world often use a billing practice referred to as Dimensional Weight (Also sometimes referred to as Volumetric Weight, DIM Weight, Cubic Weight, etc.). If you are involved in shipping (or receiving) packages, you will be affected by this and may notice Dimensional Weight entries on your invoice.

The shipping industry will consider two measurements when deciding on a charge for shipping a package. The first is the weight of the package, the second is the dimensions of the package. The reason for this becomes clear when you consider what factors are important to a shipping company. Each of their vehicles (trucks, airplanes, etc.) can carry a maximum weight and a maximum volume. If you are shipping heavy equipment, you will probably reach the maximum weight limits long before you fill the available cargo space. On the other hand if you are shipping modern computer components, potato chips, or other light weight materials you will probably fill the available space before reaching the weight limits of the vehicle. In either case, the vehicle can not carry any more packages, so the revenue expectations of the company will have to be met by varying the charges for the packages on-board.

Calculations

The charges are calculated using weight and linear dimensions. You will notice that we use the term linear dimensions and not volume. The reason for this is that these companies will actually use a theoretical volume which is equal to the smallest cuboid that the object would fit into. If your package is a rectangular cuboid, then this theoretical volume is equal to the actual volume, however if your object is odd shaped, the theoretical volume will exceed the actual volume.

Once these measurements have been taken, most couriers will enter the values into a computer and generate an invoice. The computer program makes a decision, based upon the measurements, as to how you will be charged. If your package is heavy for its size (high density), you will be charged simply by weight. However, if your package is light for its size (low density), you will be charged by volume. When the company chooses to charge by volume, they will invoice you based upon what your sized package would weigh at the minimum density they have decided to accept. In order to facilitate calculating this density, they will often use a shipping factor.

For metric measurements, this factor will often be 6 000. This factor is in units of cubic centimetres (cm3) per kilogram and equates to a density of approximately 166.67 kg/m3. The formula used is:

max.length (cm) x max.width (cm) x max.height (cm)
__________________________________________________
6 000 (shipping factor)

The value obtained from this formula will then be compared with the actual weight of the package. The larger of the two values will be used to determine the shipping charge. It should be noted that shipping charges are not directly related to the weight of the package, but are rather assessed based upon ranges. Therefore a smaller package may actually be more expensive to ship than a larger package.

To put it simply, you will be charged the greater of the Actual Weight or the Dimensional Weight as calculated using the formula above.

Calculators are provided on most shippers websites. You may use our provided Dimensional Weight Calculator to better understand the application of Dimensional Weight. Please note: This calculator does not assume a shipping factor. You will need to obtain this factor from your carrier.


Last modified: 28 January 2012 00:22:21