Shipping Terms Glossary

Shipping Terms Glossary
Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

Dimensional Weight (Volumetric Weight)

When it comes to freight, weight is not just weight! The size of your goods could change the chargeable weight of your shipment.

What is Dimensional Weight?

More commonly known as Volumetric Weight, it’s a common pricing technique used in freight transportation that determines freight rates based on the amount of space goods take up.

How is Volumetric Weight calculated?


Volumetric Weight = (length x width x height ) ÷ dimensional factor*

*Dimensional Factor is a given number. For traditional air freight, it's 5000, and for express couriers (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.), it's 6000.

How to calculate Volumetric Weight? 

A quick example:

Let’s say you are planning to ship 5 cartons

Carton dimensions = 75 cm x 45 cm x 30cm
Carton weight (per carton) = 5 kg
Dim factor* = 6000

Volumetric Weight (per carton) = (length x width x height ) ÷ dimension factor
Volumetric Weight (per carton) = (75 cm x 45 cm x 30cm) / 6000
Volumetric Weight (per carton) = (75 cm x 45 cm x 30cm) / 6000

Total Volumetric Weight = 16.87 x 5 cartons = ~84.4 kg

Will airlines charge you based on Volumetric Weight?

It depends on whether the volumetric weight is greater than the gross weight.


Airlines charge you based on the goods' chargeable weight .

Chargeable Weight = Volumetric Weight vs Gross (Actual) Weight, whichever is greater!

In our example:


Total Gross Weight = 10 kg * 5 carton = 50kg

Total Volumetric Weight = 84.4 kg


The Volumetric Weight is greater than the Gross Weight, which means airlines will charge you by 84.4 kg


Try not to overpack a box or use uneven box shapes, or you might get charged for oversize.

oversize pacakge volumetric weight

Freight forwarders have their own standard sizes, each with a specific rate. These oversized and uneven dimensions fall outside the standard sizes, which will cost you extra!


They will measure and calculate from the tallest or the longest point of the box.


Cristian Ungureanu

Logistics nerd and resident marketing guy of Bookairfreight. I love writing content that simplifies old-fashioned industry processes and provides solid, accurate information you can base your decisions on. Outside of logistics, I enjoy nature, hanging out with friends, electronic music and spirituality.

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