Weight Volume Calculator: What Does This Logistics Term Actually Mean?

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How to Calculate Shipping Volume Weight

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A volume to weight calculator helps you to figure out not only how much your shipment will weigh, but also how much space it will take up in a shipping container. This allows you to know how many containers you will need, and the best way to package or prepare your shipment.

Industry road freight logistics and transportation. Trailer container truck parked loading at dock warehouse. Package boxes load with cargo container.

There are many differences between items. For example, a ton (2000 pounds) of uncompressed fluffy pillows would probably take up more space than a ton of steel, because steel is much heavier than pillows. So, these special calculators come up with what is known in the logistics and shipping industry as the “chargeable” weight. It’s a special combination of the volume and actual weight.

How to Calculate Weight Using Volume

In this type of shipping, we first calculate the volume of your shipment. This is a simple calculation of length x width x height. Most shipments are not calculated in imperial units (inches, pounds, etc.) They must use the metric system (kilograms, centimeters, etc.). So if your volume has been done in the imperial system, you will need to convert it to metric measurements. For volume calculations, centimeters are most commonly used as opposed to millimeters or meters.

Then you divide this by a certain factor depending on the shipping method to find out how many CBMs (cubic meters) your shipment will take up.

  • For air freight, divide by 6,000.
  • For road transportation, divide by 3,000
  • For ocean freight, diving by 1,000

Because of the different sizes of the shipping methods, in air freight, 1 CBM = 167 kilograms. In road transportation, 1 CBM = 333 kilograms. In ocean freight, 1 CBM = 1,000 kilograms.

What About Loading Meters?

Sometimes in road shipping, the weight is calculated by loading meters. In this case, loading meters literally equal one meter of the floor of the truck. This is a good method for items that are not easily stackable. So, with this method, shippers are charged for the amount of floor space their shipment takes up in the truck.

If your shipment is on pallets, it’s easy to calculate how many loading meters it will take up. 1 Euro pallet is equal to 0.4 loading meters. 1 block pallet is equal to 0.5 loading meters.

How to Calculate Shipping Volume Weight For Cylindrical Packages

If you have a cylindrical package, your carrier might “square the circle.” That means the diameter of your package can simply become the width and/or the height. If they do not, you will have to use the formula πr2. You will multiply the radius by 2 then multiply that by pi. Then, to find the full volume of your package multiple that number by the length of the package. Now, use the aforementioned factors depending on the shipping method to find the volume weight.

How Many CBM Fit in a Shipping Container

There are a few different types of shipping containers, and each holds a different amount of CBM.

  • 20 foot shipping container: 26-28 CBM
  • 40 foot shipping container: 56-58 CBM
  • 40 foot high cube shipping container: 60-68 CBM
  • 45 foot high cube shipping container: 72-78 CBM

Calculating ocean freight for shipping containers by weight is pretty easy since the CBM ratio is 1 to 1 (ie, 1 CBM = 1,000 kilograms). So, 1 kilogram equals 0.1 CBM. 500 kilograms equals 0.5 CBM.

Let Us Be Your Weight Per Volume Calculator

All of this can be a bit confusing. You are an expert in your field and on your products. We are experts in logistics. Let us make the calculations and help you come up with accurate weight by volume measurements for your shipping method. We will work with your to come up with a plan that meets your needs. Contact us to get started with free quotes or just ideas for solutions on your logistics issues.

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