Purpose: This article explains volumetric weight (also known as dimensional weight) and how to calculate it to avoid receiving unwanted surcharges on parcels.
What is the difference between volumetric weight and actual weight?
What is volumetric weight? Volumetric weight is the ‘volume’ that a package occupies when in transit (the physical size of a package). Click here to calculate your volumetric weight.
What is actual weight? The actual (or physical) weight of a package is its actual weight measured in kilograms.
Why does it matter?
Volumetric weight, also known as weight, is a pricing technique for commercial freight transport (including courier and postal services). The benefits of calculating volumetric weight include:
- Applying the correct shipping rate,
- Making a profit
- Ensuring adequate space when shipping.
How to calculate volumetric weight
The most common means to calculate volumetric weight is by multiplying the length, width, and height of a parcel (in cm) and dividing that figure by 5000 (some carriers use a divisor of 4000).
Often the price of your shipment is dictated by the volumetric weight of your parcel(s) rather than the actual weight.
The courier will compare the volumetric weight to the actual weight of a parcel and charge whichever is the greater of the two (also known as billable weight or chargeable weight).
Volumetric weight in shipment form
To make things easier for you, we've added the volumetric weight to the shipment form. So what does this mean? You can now easily see what the volumetric weight of your shipment is. Don't forget to select the right box or fill out the correct measurement. See example in the image below:
The shipping methods that take the volumetric weight into account (UPS and DHL Express) will automatically adjust to the volumetric weight.
Example: If your volumetric weight is 17kg as in the image above, the methods shown for UPS and DHL Express will be DHL Express (..) 17-18kg and UPS (..) 15-20kg.
Volumetric/dimensional weight calculator