Shipping

What is volumetric weight and how to calculate it for your packages

Mariluz Sampalo

Mariluz Sampalo

Apr 6, 2022

volumetric weight is important for ecommerce and shipping rates

Inside this article

  • iconWhat is volumetric weight?
  • iconHow to calculate volumetric weight
  • iconHow to calculate the volumetric weight of a box
  • iconVolumetric weight for road freight
  • iconVolumetric weight for air freight
  • iconVolumetric weight for sea freight
  • iconHow to calculate FedEx volumetric weight
  • iconDHL volumetric weight calculator
  • iconUPS volumetric weight conversion factor
  • iconConclusion
  • If you run an online store, you may have already come across the concept of volumetric weight a few times. But do you know what couriers really mean when they say ‘volumetric weight’?

    Do you want to calculate the volumetric weight of your packages to reduce shipping costs?

    Take a look at our article and find out the meaning of volumetric weight and how you can calculate it.

    What is volumetric weight?

    Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is a way of measuring the amount of space that a package requires in a vehicle, whether it’s a delivery van, a truck, a plane or a shipping container.

    Volumetric weight is as important as the actual weight of a package since couriers choose whichever figure is larger to establish the shipping rate for that particular order.

    This is why knowing the kilograms of a package is just as important as making sure that the volumetric weight of the shipment falls within the limits established by the designated courier.

    the dimensions are height width and lenght, this is known as volumetric weight

    If you’re not familiar with these concepts, you might assume that these calculations should result in a similar number, but it’s not quite so simple. 

    For example, if you sell bulky products that are light in weight, or, on the contrary, small but heavy products, it won’t take long before you see additional charges due to missing or incorrect calculations regarding volumetric weight.

    By the way, with Outvio you don't need to calculate the volumetric weight of your parcels.

    How to calculate volumetric weight

    The volumetric weight is usually calculated by multiplying the volume of the order by the conversion factor of the designated transport company.

    Volumetric weight = Volume (m3) X conversion factor (m3/kg)

    The volume of a package is calculated by multiplying the length by its width and height.

    How to calculate the volumetric weight of a box

    For shipments that are delivered by land, you can use the above formula by applying the corresponding conversion factor for that courier and shipping service.

    In this case, the volumetric weight will be equal to the volume of your package; for example, let’s say you have a package whose volume is 0.25 m3 and the conversion factor is 200. The volumetric weight, in that case, would be 50 kg.

    Volumetric weight for road freight

    For road shipments, you will also need to multiply the volume of the package by the conversion factor.

    The conversion factor changes depending on the courier. Generally speaking, this conversion factor is between 250 and 340 kg/m3, depending on the destination of the packages.

    Volumetric weight for air freight

    For airfreight, the conversion factor also changes since shipments by air come at a higher cost.

    When you ship by air, each cubic meter is supposed to be 167 kg.

    Therefore, following the same formula, if your package occupies 0.25 m3, you will have to pay for a package that has a volumetric weight of around 40 kg.

    Volumetric weight for sea freight

    Sea freight is slower than air or road freight but may be the best option for shipping certain products or for international shipping.

    The conversion factor for sea shipments is around one ton (1,000 kg) per cubic meter. Of course, when it comes to shipping by boat, the dimensions of the packages are usually larger, with a pallet being the minimum amount of space used.

    The measurements of a Euro-pallet are 80 x 120 cm. For this particular case, let’s say that the pallet reaches 150 cm in height. The volume occupied by this pallet is therefore 1.44 m3.

    If we multiply this number by the conversion factor (1,000 kg) we get 1,440 kg for the volumetric weight.

    So, in this example, unless the pallet weighs even more than 1,440 kg, that’s the final weight you’ll be paying for. 

    How to calculate FedEx volumetric weight

    To calculate the volumetric weight for a shipment with FedEx, multiply the volume of the package by the conversion factor, which should be around 200.

    Volumetric weight = Volume (m3) X conversion factor (m3/kg)

    You can check the applicable conversion factor for your FedEx shipment with the courier.

    DHL volumetric weight calculator

    To calculate the volumetric weight of the orders you process with DHL, follow this formula:

    Volumetric weight = Volume (m3) X conversion factor (m3/kg)

    First, calculate the volume of the package and then apply the DHL conversion factor, which will be around 200. You can contact DHL to check the applicable conversion factor for your shipments.

    UPS volumetric weight conversion factor

    To calculate the volumetric weight of a parcel sent with UPS by road freight, multiply the volume of the package by the conversion factor (around 6,000).

    If you have a shipping contract with UPS, check with them directly to determine the specific volumetric weight of your package.

    Conclusion

    Now that you learned what is volumetric weight and how to calculate it, it's time to reduce the volumetric weight of your packages to cut down on shipping costs. Take a look at our four secrets to reduce shipping costs and implement these strategies today!

    You can also benefit from special shipping rates when you use Outvio to fulfil, ship, track and return orders from your online store.