Chargeable Weight In International Shipping

Author Name: Dion Suen

Save more time and avoid being charged extra shipping fees by FreightAmigo – Use our free chargeable and volumetric weight calculator now!


Broad Concept

We all know that there is space and weight limit for e.g. lift, bus in daily life. When it comes to logistics, the carrying capacity of every aircraft, truck, and ship is ultimately limited by space or weight as well.

When calculating the cost of moving your shipment, the carrier will consider both the weight and volume of your cargo, by converting the volume into a “weight equivalent,” also known as volumetric weight (or sometimes dimensional weight).

This can be explained by a simple example: Shipping 1 kg of cotton may cost more than shipping 1 kg of steel, assuming that the cartons of cotton take up more space than the cartons of steel. Chargeable weight is what the airline uses to determine the cost of your shipment. It may be either volumetric weight or actual weight, whichever is greater.

How is weight calculated?

Actual weight (gross weight) is simply the measured weight of the cargo, including packaging & pallets. However, volumetric weight calculations vary by mode of transportation and sometimes by trade lane. Here is a calculation reference:

* International express has used dimensional weight for parcels for many years, typically using a vol ratio of 1:5000, which is a dim factor of 139 cu in/lb.

What about ocean freight?

Because LCL has a very low dim factor, a shipment going by LCL will have a higher volumetric weight than if it went by any other mode. This is why almost all LCL cost is dimensional (usually referred to as “per CBM”). Only very dense shipments, like a pallet of batteries, are charged by actual weight. Read more: What’s a CBM?

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