What is the volumetric weight and why is it important?

If you have an online store, you’ve probably noticed that when shipping companies talk about parcel dimensions, they refer to volumetric weight. Calculating the volumetric weight correctly is very important, as it allows you to choose the form of transport that best suits your needs and even save possible cost overruns on shipments.

Have you ever wondered how they pack parcels and why volumetric weight is essential?

swiss mail solutions volumetric weight

Suppose you want to avoid paying the highest rate when shipping your products and reduce logistics costs for your e-commerce platform. Read this article to discover what volumetric weight is, how you can calculate it, and the different criteria each delivery company uses. We’ll even show you some hacks for perfectly packing your goods and reducing their dimensions.

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What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is the measure shipping companies use to determine a package’s density and the space it will take up. It represents the space that a parcel occupies according to its dimensions. The calculation is based on the package’s length, width, and height.

Unlike physical (actual) weight measured by the weighing scale, volumetric or dimensional weight is the overall size of a parcel. Therefore, a large package full of lightweight products can be more expensive than a small heavy box. 

Still, shipping a small but weighty package isn’t the same as for large and bulky ones.

Shipping companies must calculate the weight of a package in cubic meters to:

  • Guarantee they make a profit.
  • Ensure optimum use of space while shipping.
  • Apply the appropriate rate.

How to calculate volumetric weight?

The main rule is to take an item’s volume and divide it by a dimensional divisor. 

Length x height x width / conversion factor = volumetric weight

Since there are two types of weight, which one do the couriers use to charge the costs? They use so-called “billable” or “chargeable” weight. If the volumetric weight is higher, they will use that one; if not, they will use the actual weight. This way of calculation helps couriers hold profitability and retain shipping efficiency.

how to calculate volumetric weight

How to Calculate volumetric weight for DHL?

DHL offers two primary delivery services – DHL Parcel and DHL Express – and both use a conversion factor of 5,000 (length x weight x height / 5,000).

How to calculate DPD gross weight from dimensions

For regular parcel service, DPD uses a conversion rate of 5,000.

Until the package exceeds 4.0 cubic meters per tonne, DPD’s regular parcel service is based on actual weight. If your package is bigger, the carrier will charge whatever is greater: volumetric or actual weight.

How do you calculate UPS volumetric weight?

All parcels sent via UPS will be charged according to their billable weight. The carrier will compare its dimensional weight with its actual weight and use the highest figure.
UPS also uses a conversion factor of 5,000. The highest dimensional weight for shipping with UPS is 70kg per package. And in terms of actual weight, their maximum is 30kg per package.

Can you avoid volumetric weight?

To some degree, yes, volumetric weight can be avoided or at least reduced. You should try making your package as small as possible. Swiss mail solutions can help you by providing packaging services to maximize the space and reduce shipping costs. Commonly we remove a product from its original box and then repackage it to utilize the space better.

However, volumetric weight is necessary because it helps freight companies maintain their stellar service. Volumetric weight ensures a fair charge for sellers shipping large but very light items that take up more space than a tiny but hefty package.

Which shipping company is best for your needs?

Finding a good eCommerce fulfillment company that will pay attention to all necessary things like fulfillment service, distribution, and pick-and-pack solutions is essential. 

Swiss mail solutions perfectly understand clients’ needs and offer modern and reliable fulfillment and distribution solutions. You will be amazed by what you can achieve (and save) by automating your logistics.

4 Tips for how to pack and decrease the volume of your parcels correctly

Now we’re looking at how to reduce packaging volume and, thus, your costs.
So take note of these five tips for correctly packing your parcels:

  • Consider a packaging supplier that can meet your online business needs, whether you need different-sized boxes, envelopes, or tubes. Suppliers usually provide the internal measurements of the boxes. Ask them for the external dimensions so that you can calculate the volumetric weight.
  • Use boxes lined with bubble wrap or other material to help hold the goods in place.
  • Avoid excessive filling. Use the minimum possible packaging. Even better if it’s sustainable.
  • Make sure the packaging is proper for your products. By this, we mean internal packaging. There will be no extra filling if you leave as little space as possible for the products to move around inside.
difference between volumetric weight and actual weight

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For more information, contact our team.