ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to calculate dimensional weight

Updated on April 16, 2014

Understand dimensional weight

Whether you are relocating abroad or shipping items it is a good idea to understand the calculation for shipping. This way you will be able to maximize your load without going over your budget. Thousands of people waste money due to poor packing techniques which leads to dead space and higher costs. When moving companies visit your residence to assist the amount of goods you have, they will always use the dimensional weight to calculated the costing.

How do they know the weight when nothing was weighed during the survey?

The answer is, Dimensional or Volumetric weight which is derived from a formula using the volume, so in fact you are paying for a size rather then a weight. This is why it is important that the goods are tightly packed if you are on a strict budget. The actual weight may not matter in many cases.

Dimensional weight calculation

For sea shipments you simply multiply the volume (cubic meters) by 35.3147 to get the cubic feet equivalent, then multiply this by 6.5 which is a typical density factor (companies do vary).

E.g. 10m3 x 35.3147 x 6.5 = 2,295lbs, so the price will be calculated from 2,295lbs.

As you can see the actual weight has nothing to do which dimensional weight. A shipment consisting mainly of furniture which has a volume of say 25m3 could possibly be reduced to around 18-20m3 if tightly packed e.g. items stuffed inside the furniture where possible like drawers. Even though the actual weight won't change, the cost will change considerably.

For air shipments the calculations are quite different . Two weights are compared and you will normally be charged for the heaviest. The two weights are 1> the actual weight and 2> the volumetric or air chargeable weight calculated by Volume cbm x 166.6666 e.g. an air shipment of 2 cubic meters has an ACW of 2m3 x 166.666 = 333kg.

If the actual weight of the above is only 250kg then you will be charged for the air chargeable weight which is for 333kg. Some companies will only charge you for volume though, so it is important to tight pack to keep the volume down. This involves things like packing clothes and other items into drawers to keep the volume down. The less the volume then the lower the cost, simple.

Types of shipment

Containers - These generally come in two sizes

1. 40ft container which can hold up to 66 cbm and

2. 20ft container which can hold up to 33 cbm.

There is also a 40ft High Cube which can hold up to 76 cbm.

The cost for a container which be the same regardless of the volume of the goods.

Less the container load (LCL) - This is for shipments less than around 10 cbm, the items go into separate packages and are loaded onto pallets. The goods will then join other items in a shared container. The cost of the shipment depends of the volume of the items.

Cars - There are two common methods of shipping cars.

1. Inside a container where the car is secured inside in the container

2. Ro Ro (Roll on Roll off) is where the car is loaded onto an exposed container with other cars, therefore cheaper.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Hezekiah profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Japan

      Yeah, that's will need clarifying first if you are in the logistics industry and doing business.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I noticed that some companies use different density factors. Gotta be careful there.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)