How to Calculate Volumetric Weight in E-commerce logistics


Well, if you are an online merchant, you know that your stuff doesn’t always fit comfortably into a flat rate box, which indicates that shipping isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it’s flat-out complicated, especially when the dimensional and volumetric weight comes into play.

As an eCommerce fulfillment center, we are often asked how to calculate dimensional weight. We’ll get into that shortly, but let’s start with a quick overview of what it is.

Every carrier, no matter the shipping method, has developed packing policies to maximize their capacity and ultimately their revenue. To that end, carriers also created a way to measure weight to make the most out of lightweight items that utilize more space.

In this article, we’ll learn everything about volumetric weight, how it’s calculated, and best of all, how you can avoid it or at least reduce it.

Understanding Volumetric Weight

The courier industry, and different carriers, use methods for estimating the volumetric weight of a product. The majority of couriers base their delivery charges on either the dimension or volumetric weight of a parcel, whichever is the higher. The bigger an item is, the more place it takes up on a vehicle or aircraft, and the more it costs to send. If an item is large but light, the price will be based on the size rather than the weight.

Normally, it is a pricing technique used by shipping companies to ensure that they don’t lose money on large, lightweight shipments (like your pillows).

How to Calculate Volumetric Weight?

The weight of your shipment is defined in two ways: the actual weight and the volumetric weight. The larger weight is used to calculate the shipment cost. To calculate volumetric weight, we need three important factors, length, width, and height of the parcel.

Then grab your calculator and follow some steps:

  1. Multiply the three dimensions (length x height x width)
  2. If you are using centimeters, then divide the result by 5000.

And, if you are using inches, then divide the result by 305.

  1. The resulting figure represents the volumetric weight of your parcel.

Important Note: In kilograms, the formula is L*W*H/6000 for domestic shipments and L*W*H/5000 for international shipments.

Let’s take one example if you’re shipping three boxes of books, weighing 10Kg each and measuring 30Cm on all sides. Here is how your calculation should look like:

Actual Weight:

3 (boxes) x 10Kg = 30Kg

Volumetric Weight:

30 x 30 x 30 = 27,000 / 5,000 = 5.4 Kg x 3 (boxes) = 16.2Kg

Applying the above formula, the total volumetric weight comes out 16.2Kg, but since the total actual weight, 30Kg is higher. It will be used to calculate the chargeable shipping weight of the 30Kg total.

Here is the formula

Reduce Your Shipping cost 

To avoid overpaying and keep chargeable weight to the minimum possible, use volumetric weight when you’re expecting multiple or regular deliveries. They may be able to creatively merge your packages to clarify logistics and cut your shipping charges.

This is particularly effective with smaller-sized packages, which are often subject to reduce shipping fees regardless of their gross or volumetric weight.

Lastly, we hope this blog helps to make volumetric weight a little bit easier to understand. As always, keep yourself updated and in touch with your shipping costs and providers, working with any shipping representatives when necessary. After all, it’s up to you to make the right call for what’s best for your business.

Looking for an e-commerce shipping solution? Get started with iThink Logistics