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Does size matter? Actual vs Volumetric Weight

June 5, 2024

The debate on whether size matters is a trendy one, even in the logistics space. This is because when shipping an item, both the weight and size can affect how much you pay for it.

So which is more important, you might ask? Size or Weight? Don’t worry; we’re here to clear this up for you.

In this article, we’ll explain Actual Weight and Volumetric weight (size), how they’re calculated, why they are essential and what you can do to ensure your shipments are always weighed accurately. Let's get into it.

What is Actual Weight?

Actual weight is the specific weight of your parcel when you place it on a scale, which is why It can also be referred to as ”Scale weight”.

How to Measure Actual Weight?

You can measure the Actual Weight of your parcel by simply placing it on a weight scale.

What is Volumetric Weight?

Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is the size of your parcel. It is a method of weighing that determines the space a package will occupy during shipping.

Most courier companies use volumetrics to decide how much to charge you. This means that even if your package doesn’t weigh much but takes up a lot of space, you may likely be charged based on its volumetric weight.  

Why is Volumetric Weight Important?

Firstly, it helps logistics companies plan how much space a parcel might require during transportation. This is important whether the goods are transported by road, sea, or air.

Secondly, knowing the volumetric weight allows for better planning and optimisation of storage space, ensuring that available storage capacity is used efficiently.

Lastly, it plays a crucial role in establishing accurate and fair shipping rates, considering the items' actual weight and the space they occupy.

When is Volumetric Weight Used?

Volumetric weight is used when sending bulky items in a box or even fliers. Shipping companies usually compare an item's weight to its volumetric and then use the higher one to calculate shipping fees.

How to Measure Volumetric Weight?

Volumetric weight can be calculated by:

  1. Measuring the length, width, and height of your package in centimetres (in cm)
  2. Multiplying these dimensions together and dividing the result by 5000

For example, If my length is 100 cm, my width is 50 cm, and my height is 60cm, the accurate calculation for this would be 100 x 50 x 60 / 5000, so the volumetric weight for this is 60kg.

The final figure you obtain is your volumetric weight, essential for precise shipping costs and efficient logistics.

You can watch the tutorial on How to Measure Volumetric Weight here.

Tips on How to Maximise Your Volumetric Weight to Reduce Costs

When your volumetric weight is not measured properly, you can be charged with weight discrepancies, which will cost you an extra fee. To avoid it, here are some ways to maximise your Volumetric Weight to reduce costs.

  1. Package your items correctly; if you are wondering how to do this, here is a detailed tutorial to help you - “How to Package Items Correctly."
  2. Ensure that you use the proper measuring tape to avoid any calculation errors.

In summary, when it comes to logistics, size does matter. So, when you’re getting ready to ship an item next, consider not only what it weighs on the scale but also its size and how much space it may occupy.