What is Volume Weight and How To Calculate?

What is Volume Weight and How To Calculate?

Understanding what is volume weight and  how to calculate volumetric weight is essential for ecommerce businesses to optimize shipping costs and improve profit margins. This comprehensive guide will explain the concept of volumetric or dimensional weight, show you how to calculate it and discuss its importance in the shipping process. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions about packaging and shipping, potentially saving you money and enhancing customer satisfaction.

What is Volumetric Weight and Why Does it Matter?

Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, reflects the density of a package—a crucial factor for shipping companies when determining shipping rates. It’s a pricing technique that considers the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight, ensuring that carriers are compensated for the space that lightweight, bulky items take up in a truck or plane.

How to Calculate Volumetric Weight for Your Shipments

Calculating the volumetric weight of your package is simple: multiply its length by width by height and then divide by a standard divisor used by the carrier. This divisor may vary by carrier and can change for international shipments, but common divisors include 139 (for imperial measurements) and 5000 (for metric, resulting in weight in kilograms).

Volumetric vs. Actual Weight: Which One Do Shipping Companies Charge For?

Shipping companies will charge the greater of the two weights—volumetric or actual. For small but heavy items, the actual weight is often greater, while for large, light items, the volumetric weight might be considered. This ensures fair pricing for the space and weight capacity used during transport.

The Role of Volumetric Weight in Ecommerce Shipping

In ecommerce, where shipping costs can be a significant portion of operating expenses, understanding and optimizing for volumetric weight can lead to more accurate shipping rates and better pricing strategies for customers.

Calculate Volumetric Weight with a Calculator

Many shipping companies and online tools offer volumetric weight calculators. By inputting your package’s dimensions, these calculators can instantly provide you with the volumetric weight, helping you to estimate shipping costs more efficiently. Click here to calculate.

Understanding the Volumetric Weight Divisor

The divisor is a set number that carriers use to convert cubic size into volumetric weight. It’s a fixed figure that can differ based on the carrier’s policy and the shipment’s destination—domestic or international.

FedEx and DHL’s Approach to Volumetric Weight

Major carriers like FedEx and DHL have specific guidelines on how to calculate and use volumetric weight. Their websites provide detailed instructions and tools to help ecommerce businesses determine the best way to package and ship their products.

Weighing the Options: How to Determine the True Cost of Your Parcel

When it comes to shipping, the weight of a package is a fundamental factor that determines the cost of freight. But it’s not just about how heavy your package is when placed on a scale. In the world of logistics, the process of weighing parcels has evolved to consider various aspects that affect the transportation cost. Understanding how to accurately weigh your package and calculate its freight cost is essential for any ecommerce business.

Parcel Weight: More Than Just Kilograms

A parcel’s weight is typically measured in kilograms (kg), but the impact of this weight on shipping costs can vary significantly. A heavy item that’s compact may cost less to ship than a lighter item that takes up more space due to the way carriers calculate dimensional weight. This is why it’s crucial for shippers to know not just the physical weight in kg but also the dimensional weight of their parcels.

Freight Calculations: The Centimeter’s Role in Shipping Costs

The size of a package, often measured in centimetres, plays a critical role in determining shipping costs. Freight carriers use the dimensions of a package to calculate its volumetric weight, which can sometimes lead to higher costs than the actual weight would suggest. By understanding the importance of each centimetre in this calculation, shippers can optimize packaging to minimize costs.

The Kilogram-Centimeter Balance in Package Weight

Finding the balance between the weight in kilograms and the size in centimetres is a delicate dance for anyone in the shipping industry. This balance affects not only the cost but also the method of transportation chosen for the parcel. Whether by air, land, or sea, the interplay between kg and cm dictates the efficiency and economy of freight options.

Centimetre Precision: Measuring for Accurate Shipping Rates

Accurate measurement is the cornerstone of fair shipping rates. Each centimetre can change the classification of a package from standard to oversized, altering the price bracket it falls into. Shippers must use precision when measuring their parcels to ensure they are not overpaying for freight due to a miscalculation in size.

KGs and Centimeters: The Dynamic Duo of Shipping Efficiency

In the end, kilograms and centimetres are the dynamic duo that defines the efficiency of shipping. A package that is heavy for its size (high kg to cm ratio) may be more expensive to ship per unit of weight, while a large but light package (low kg to cm ratio) may be more expensive due to the space it occupies. Understanding this relationship is key to optimizing shipping strategies for cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

How to Optimize Packaging for Volumetric Weight

Optimizing packaging to minimize volumetric weight can reduce shipping costs. This might involve selecting packaging that closely fits the product or redesigning product packaging for efficiency in shipping.

The Impact of Volumetric Weight on Shipping Costs

Volumetric weight can significantly impact shipping costs, especially for items that are large and light. Ecommerce stores must consider this when setting shipping policies and rates for their products.


In wrapping up our exploration of volumetric weight, let’s consider the broader implications for your ecommerce strategy. The savvy application of volumetric weight calculations opens up opportunities for innovation in packaging, marketing, and overall customer experience. By integrating these practices, your business is not merely reducing shipping costs but also positioning itself as a customer-centric brand that values transparency and efficiency.

Embrace the challenge of volumetric weight as a chance to refine your operations and communicate value to your customers. Whether it’s by offering more competitive pricing, improving the unboxing experience, or ensuring the sustainability of your shipping practices, the thoughtful consideration of volumetric weight can contribute to a stronger brand reputation and increased customer loyalty.

Remember, the goal is to leverage every aspect of your shipping process to reinforce your brand’s commitment to excellence. Let the precision in your shipping calculations be a reflection of the meticulous care you put into every customer interaction. With each package sent, you’re not just delivering a product; you’re sending a message about who you are as a company. Make it count. For the best fulfilment services, contact us here.

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