Strategies to optimise the cost of shipping: Discover how volumetric weight impacts your costs

When you decide to ship a package, it is essential to understand that the cost of shipping is determined by two key factors: weight and volume. Although weight is commonly thought to be the only relevant factor, volume can have a significant impact, especially in the case of light but bulky packages such as furniture or mattresses.

How to measure volumetric weight
A warehouse worker measuring out a parcel

What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is a measure of the space occupied by a package, calculated by multiplying its length, height and width (which is cubic capacity), and dividing by a conversion factor specific to the carrier.

How to calculate volumetric weight

The formula is simple:

Volumetric Weight = Length (cm) x Height (cm) x Width (cm) / Conversion Factor.

This factor varies between carriers; for example DHL, FedEx and UPS use 5,000.

Importance of volumetric weight and how it affects the cost of a shipment:

The volumetric weight is crucial because it determines the shipping cost for bulky parcels. The carrier always calculates the shipping price based on the higher of the actual weight and the volumetric weight. Therefore, if the volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight, the shipment price will be based on the volumetric weight and will therefore cost more.

Practical example

To understand how volumetric weight is affected, consider a 5 kg package with dimensions of 50 x 40 x 30 cm.

The cubic volume of this shipment would be: 504030 m= 60,000 cm3.

If we apply a conversion factor of 5,000, the volumetric weight would be 12 kg. Therefore, even if the package weighs 5 kilos, its volumetric weight is 12 kilos, and this will be the price used by the carrier to calculate the price of the shipment.

At LetMeShip, we take care of calculating the volumetric weight for you. You can check this when quoting your shipments by selecting the ‘Price Breakdown’ option with the magnifying glass.

Tips for reducing volumetric weight

  • Use boxes appropriate to the contents.
  • Fill empty spaces with filler material.
  • Avoid excessively large boxes.
  • Consolidates shipments for greater efficiency.
  • Remove the air from the packaging with a vacuum pump or hoover.

Additional factors to consider:

The volumetric calculation depends on the type of service and the chosen method of transport. Companies may apply different conversion factors for international or express shipments, taking into account load capacity, fuel cost and risk of damage.

Therefore, volumetric weight is a fundamental aspect of parcel shipping. By following the tips provided, you can reduce costs and improve efficiency in your shipping processes. At LetMeShip, we are ready to help you with all your shipments – click on “Register” and create an account at no cost! Start shipping with us, we’ll take care of everything for you.