How Chargeable Weight is Calculated

The majority of couriers charge for shipments using actual weight or volume. Whichever is greater becomes the chargeable weight.

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What Is Volume and Chargeable Weight?

Volume, also known as, dimensional/ volumetric weight is a pricing method that uses the length, width, and height to calculate the overall size of a parcel and is measured in volumetric kilograms (kg) or volumetric pounds (lb).

Volumetric weight = (height x width x length) / dimensional factor

This dimensional factor is set differently by each courier. Many couriers use 5000 (metric) or 139 (imperial) as the dimensional factor.

Chargeable weight is the pricing method used (higher than the actual and volumetric weight) to calculate the shipping cost of your parcel.

Example 1: A parcel’s dimension are 50cm x 50cm x 40cm, weighs 5kg and uses UPS to ship.

Actual weight = 5kg

Volumetric weight = (50x40x30)/5000 = 12kg

Chargeable weight = 12kg

As the volume is higher than the actual weight, the chargeable weight is the volumetric weight.

Example 2: A parcel’s dimensions are 20in x 15in x 5in, weighs 20lbs and uses DHL to ship.

Actual weight = 20lbs

Volumetric weight = (20x15x5)/139 = 11lbs

Chargeable weight = 20lbs

As the actual weight is higher than the volume of the shipment, the chargeable weight is the actual weight.

Why Do Couriers Use Volumetric Weight?

Many couriers use both volumetric weight and actual weight to calculate shipping costs because it helps them calculate the true cost of delivering your package. The larger the parcel is, the more room it takes up on a vehicle or aircraft and therefore costs more to transport. If an item is large but light, the price will be based on the size rather than the weight.

Do All Couriers Use Volume to Calculate Price?

Not all, some postal couriers will only take into account the actual weight of the shipment when charging you. However, they still have maximum dimension restrictions, and if you exceed these, the couriers may not accept your parcel or upgrade the service resulting in a volume-based adjustment. 

Why Is It Important To Provide Accurate Weight and Dimensions?

The courier will almost always measure the dimensions and weight of each parcel automatically using very accurate lasers during transit.

If there is a difference between what they measure vs what was declared on Easyship, you will receive additional charges. If the parcel is bigger/heavier than declared, you will be charged additional costs to make up for the difference. This works the other way too, if the parcel is smaller/lighter than declared, you will receive a refund to make up for the difference.

Hence we recommend weighing and measuring your parcel as accurately as possible to avoid shipping charge adjustments.

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