Volumetric Weight Calculator

Also known as a Dimensional Weight Calculator, the Volumetric Weight Calculator calculates the weight of a shipment, carton or pallet for domestic and/or international shipping. The dimensional weight calculator provides a calculation of the good weight in terms of the dimensions of the shipment (the volumetric weight), then compares this to the physical weight of the shipment. Whichever is higher, volumetric weight or physical weight, is the weight used for calculating the cost of shipping your goods. It is worth noting that different logistics companies use different formulas for calculating dimensional weight. The volumetric weight formula used determined by their own internal cost model, through chain capacity/fill rate and demographic competition.

Volumetric Weight Calculator (in Centimetres)
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Volumetric Weight Calculator. This image shows the volumetric weight formula and dimesional weight formula used in the Volumetric Weight Calculator and Dimensional Weight Calculator

About the Volumetric Weight Calculator

The Volumetric Weight Calculator is a tool designed initially to support logistics during the 2012 Olympics, providing those moving goods to and from Olympic venues with a tool for identifying the shipment weight before comparing cost for international shipping, domestic shipping and final mile movements. The tool has since been broadened to provide a wider comparison of volumetric weight calculations including multiple options selection of the shipping factor used by different logistics companies. The Dimensional Weight Calculator remains a good calculator that is commonly used to calculate multiple item shipment weights and compare transportation costs with parcel companies and freight forwarders.

Why is Volumetric Weight used for calculating transportation costs?

Amongst other key elements, Supply Chain Capacity and Velocity are key components of the profit capability of logistics companies. The best logistics companies move goods the quickest (clearly, quality of handling remains key, speed is offset by correct product handling), the speed that the shipments move through the logistics company's supply chain network is known and referred to as "velocity". Optimal supply chain velocity is achieved by ensuring that all space within transportation networks is used, effectively aiming for a 100% fill rate. If we consider an airplane as an example, the fill rate of the airplane can be achieved in two ways:

  1. The aircraft can be physically full: this means that all storage areas within the aircraft are filled with cargo.
  2. The Aircraft can be at maximum weight: this is predefined by aircraft limitations and industry standards.

An aircraft that was filled with polystyrene balls would have almost no physical weight. An aircraft that was full of rolls of steel would also be full but significantly heavier. If the logistics industry were to charge only using physical weight, the amount charged for the polystyrene example would be negligible, in fact it is unlikely it would cover the costs of transportation and handling. The aircraft full of steel however would be profitable on weight but... is likely to exceed weight tolerances for the aircraft so the aircraft may not be able to be filled to its maximum load (in physical terms), there would also be increased fuel costs and increased flight times. The key to success in this logistics example is balance. Balancing the right amount of steel and polystyrene to achieve a good aircraft load that remain within weight restrictions but fill all space in the aircraft.

In the real world though, the balance is far trickier with goods ranging from cuddly toys to large engine parts but the key element that remains the same is the calculation of weight for costs with the higher of the volumetric weight (measurement weight) or the physical weight determining the cost of your shipments.

Key points to remember about volumetric weight

  • The volumetric weight is a measurement of the space that the goods will require when being transported from one location to another (Domestic and/or international).
  • Volumetric weight is used alongside actual weight to provide a fare charging system.
  • In the logistics industry, space consumption is everything, road vehicles, aircraft, ships, trains etc. are all fixed capacity solutions. The more space you take as a ratio of weight, the more it is likely to cost you to transport your goods.

Using the Online Volumetric Weight Calculator

Enter the dimensions of the package / object that you would like to calculate the volumetric weight of. This volumetric Calculator uses either centimetres or inches and will provide you with a running total as you enter your values. Please contact us to request changes or amendments to this volumetric calculator.

Volumetric Weight Formula

Vol = (Width x Length x Height) / Mu

Where:

  • Vol = Volumetric Weight in kilograms
  • W = Width
  • L = Length
  • H = Height
  • Mu = Measurement unit. The Measurement unit is a theoretically weight and therefore subject to interpretation / application based on the associated costs constrains within the transportation movement. The Volumetric Weight Calculator provides 4 commonly used Metric Units with 5000 cm3/kg common for domestic movements and 6000 cm3/kg for international. Where calculating the costs of domestic shipments and international shipments, it is worth asking the logistics company which dimensional weight unit they are using as this alone can save you a lot of money on your shipment costs.

Summary

Volumetric weight is used in the Logistics industry, the Freight Forwarding industry for example, as a means of calculating the cost of shipping a package / pallet etc. Freight Forwarding involves the movement of large goods by Air, Sea or Road with smaller packages being transported by parcel companies. Most major logistics companies have a freight forwarding division and a small package division. In the era of home delivery, small package tends to make up the more profitable arm of the logistics industry.

Volumetric weight is used as a direct measure of the amount of space that the package / pallet / goods will take up on the vehicle, Aircraft, Vessel etc. When calculating the freight costs, the company will look at the actual physical weight of the goods and the volumetric weight. You will be charged for whichever is the higher of the two weights.

Volumetric Weight is also referred to as the dimensional weights