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Learn about volumetric weight and how it is applicable to your international shipping weight

What is volumetric weight?


Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is a pricing technique for commercial freight transport (including courier and postal services), which uses an estimated weight that is calculated from the length, width and height of a package.


What is the difference between the Volumetric/Dimensional Weight and Physical Weight of a package?


As is typical in the air courier shipping industry, chargeable shipping weight is subject to not only the physical weight of a package, but also its volumetric/dimensional weight, whichever is higher. 


While the physical weight is simply the weight of a package according to the weighing machine, volumetric and dimensional weight is calculated according to the size and dimensions of a package. 


How is volumetric/dimensional weight measured?


Volumetric weight is typically calculated by taking the volume of a package in cubic centimeters and dividing it by a volumetric factor of 5000. Therefore, volumetric weight = (Length X Width X Height) in cubic centimeters/5000. 


If the unit of measurement used is inches rather than centimeters, volumetric weight is calculated by taking the volume of a package in cubic inches and dividing it by a volumetric factor of 305. Therefore, volumetric weight = (Length X Width X Height) in cubic inches/5000.


Why is volumetric/dimensional weight taken into consideration?


When it comes to air freight, space limitations in airplanes restrict the number of packages that can be shipped per flight, which means that international air courier companies like DHL, FedEx and UPS also have to take into consideration not just the physical weight of a package but its size too. Volumetric weight is a way of converting size into weight for comparative purposes.  


Generally speaking, larger and bulkier items are more likely to be subject to volumetric/dimensional weight. 


Click here to visit the DHL website to find out more about volumetric weight. 


If my package(s) incurs a high volumetric weight, how can CWELogistics help me reduce my eventual chargeable international shipping weight?


If your package is particularly bulky with a lot of excess space, we can repack your your items into less bulky packaging or if you have several packages, we can combined them into a single package (or as few as possible) in order to reduce and minimize your chargeable shipping weight. This can be done so as long as we deem that it does not jeopardize on the safety of your items when being shipped internationally. 


Why does the chargeable weight of my package for international shipping sometimes differ from what is quoted by the merchant for domestic shipping or the weight of the item as displayed on the merchant website?


Firstly, certain domestic shipments, especially those that involve ground shipping, are sometimes not subject to volumetric weight depending on the courier used. Secondly, merchants usually only display the physical weight of an item on their website, not its volumetric weight after packaging. 



If you have any further questions regarding volumetric weight, feel free to contact us at

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