How to Calculate Weight from Volume

What is volumetric weight? How do you calculate weight from volume? How does volumetric weight vary depending on air or ocean freight? Find all the answers in this easy to understand guide.

Regardless of transportation mode, every carrier has evolved packing tactics to optimize capacity and, eventually, revenue. To that purpose, carriers developed a method for measuring volumetric weight to make the most lightweight objects that take up more room.

Volumetric weight relates to a parcel's total dimensions and is measured in volumetric kilos. Volumetric weight can be estimated by multiplying the length, breadth, and height of a package (in cm) by 5000 (Some carriers use a divisor of 4000).

Your shipping price is frequently determined by the volumetric weight of your parcel(s) instead of the physical weight. This is because our costing is dependent on the larger of the volumetric weight and the physical weight.

Learning how to estimate the volumetric weight is essential for determining the exact cost of sending a product to a consumer. Whether you manage shipping logistics yourself or outsourcing the process to a 3PL, it's critical to grasp what volumetric weight is or how to estimate it. Continue reading to find out more about volumetric weight calculation.

What Is A Volumetric Weight?

Some goods with lower density take up more space than their actual weight. These things are charged based on the amount of space they take up. This volumetric or dimensional weight is measured and compared to the shipment's overall weight to determine greater. The greater the weight, the greater the expense of the shipment.

In its most basic form, dimensional weight (DIM) is just a method of calculating freight pricing that considers the amount of space a package will occupy. Freight and shipping businesses utilize it to ensure that they do not lose money on lightweight but massive products.

While air freight has long used the dimensional weight idea to charge for shipment, ground cargo has only recently begun incorporating the technique to assess the cost.

Considering volumetric weight (how much room a shipment will take up rather than just how much it weighs) might assist freight companies in compensating for large, lightweight deliveries that may not result in much compensation from the billable weight.

For instance, you may have a box of feathers that is huge, say 100 cm X 50 cm X 50 cm, and yet is pretty light at 5kgs. The volume of this parcel is 50 volumetric kilos based on the above computation (length X width X height / 5000). The pricing is based on 50 kilos because the volume 'exceeds' the physical weight of 5kgs. As a result, it is critical to measure the parcel(s) at their widest, longest, and most significant points. Any bulges, handles, labels, or packing that could deflect you should include a measurement laser's beam.

It's worth mentioning that it also works the other way. You could use a tiny box of hefty metal components (30 cm x 30 cm x 20cm) weighing 10kg. This parcel weighs 5.4kg. So, because the volumetric weight is less than the physical weight, in this case, the pricing is based on 10kg.

How to Calculate Volumetric Weight

To calculate volumetric weight, multiply the width, height, and length of a parcel by the cubic size. Make use of the longest point on each side. The volumetric weight is then calculated by dividing the cubic size by the DIM divisor. To obtain a volumetric weight calculation, follow these steps:

1. Measure width, height, and length from the longest point on each side. Add inches to accommodate for any uneven sides if your package is not a perfect square or shape.

2. Always round each measurement to the nearest whole number.

3. To calculate your cubic size, multiply your dimensions (rounded width, height, and length).

4. Calculate your parcel's cubic size and divide it by what freight companies call the DIM divisor (or dimensional factor). The leading freight carriers, including UPS, FedEx, and DHL, set the DIM divisor.

FedEx's DIM divisor, for example, is 139 cubic inches per pound. So, if your parcel measures 26.6 x 16.2 x 10, multiply 27 x 17 x 10 = 4,590 and divide by 139. This results in a dimensional weight of 33.02. This figure is then compared to real weight.

5. If the real weight is less than 31 pounds, FedEx will cost 31 pounds

6. if the actual weight is greater than 31 pounds (as in this example), FedEx will charge for that amount.

Related: How to Calculate Weighted Average

Volumetric Weight Calculation for Air Freight

In IATA shipments, the 1:6000 vol ratio, 6000 ccm/kg, 166 cu in/lb., and 366 cu in/kg are usual. The volume of air freight is normally rounded up to the nearest full or half-kilogram.


For so many years, global express has employed dimensional weight for parcels, often with a vol ratio of 1:5000, resulting in a dim factor of 139 cu in/lb. Some couriers, such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS, have recently begun employing dimensional weight for land services.

Volumetric Weight Calculation for Ocean Freight

Because LCL has a lower dim factor, a shipment shipped via LCL will have a higher volumetric weight than a shipment shipped via any other mode. As a result, practically all LCL costs are dimensional (sometimes referred to as "per CBM"). Only highly dense shipments, such as a pallet of batteries, are charged per weight.

LCL is usually the least expensive model, but only because its lower charges per unit weight more than compensate for its greater volumetric weight. Extremely light shipments are an exception. Because LCL has a low dim factor (combined with a larger indirect cost ratio), air freight is usually less expensive.

Bottom Line

Few factors are as essential to get right in the eCommerce industry as shipping charges. However, if you do not have perfectly accurate dimension and weight data, you may be spending too much or billing them too little. Continue reading to learn how volumetric weight can enable more precise rates, resulting in higher margins.

Volumetric weight is a transportation measurement that incorporates both measurements and weight to calculate a shipment's density.

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