Billable weight

HOW TO: Calculate my parcel’s billable weight

It’s probably the most common question any freight and logistics company gets asked, and it’s probably burning in your mind too. “What will it cost to send my package from A to B”?

No-one can answer this question unless they know the billable weight. Here’s how you can accurately determine billable weight for your import and export shipments:

When a parcel is transported, its actual weight (measured on a scale) and the amount of space it takes up (its volume) each play an important role in determining what it will cost to get it to its destination. The volume can also be expressed as the parcel’s dimensional weight (sometimes also called its volumetric weight).

The freight forwarder will consider the actual weight and the dimensional weight of your parcel and charge you for whichever is higher. The higher figure is therefore called the chargeable or billable weight.

Here’s how to determine the actual, dimensional and billable weight of your parcel:

Actual weight

This is the easy part –  just place the parcel on a scale.

As an example, let say we have a parcel which actually weighs 22kg.

Dimensional weight

Calculating dimensional weight requires a specific 2-step formula.

Step 1: Multiply the dimensions of the package (in centimeters) to get a product

• Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm)

So, if you have a package with a length of 75cm, a width of 50cm, and a height of 35cm, your calculation looks like this:

• 75 X 50 X 35 = 131250

Step 2: Divide the product by the conversion factor used by your freight or courier company

You’ll need to find our what factor they use in advance. Most freight companies use a conversion factor of 5000, but it may be as much as 6000 or 7000.

This step of the calculation looks like this:

• 131250/5000 = 26.25

So, in this example the parcel has a dimensional weight of 26.25kg.

Billable weight

Logistics companies will use the heavier of the two weights, whether that’s the dimensional weight (as outlined in the above calculation), or the actual weight of the parcel.

In our example the parcel’s dimensional weight of 26.25kg is greater than its actual weight of 22kg.

Our parcel’s billable weight is therefore 26.25kg

To make your calculations quick and easy, please use our billable weight online calculator.

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