Purpose: This article explains volumetric weight (also known as dimensional weight) and how to calculate it to avoid receiving unwanted surcharges on parcels.
Volumetric weight vs actual weight
Why does it matter?
Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is a pricing technique for commercial freight transport (including courier and postal services).
What is volumetric weight?
Volumetric weight is the ‘volume’ that a package occupies when in transit (the physical size of a package).
What is actual weight?
The actual (or physical) weight of a package is its actual weight measured in kilograms.
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.
Using a calculator:
- Multiply the parcel’s three dimensions (length x height x width)
- If you are using centimeters then divide the result by 5000
- If you are using inches then divide the result by 305
- The resulting figure represents the volumetric weight of your parcel
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).
Chargeable weight calculator