Reason Behind Charging Volume Weight in Express Courier Industry

Volumetric Weight Charged by Courier Companies
The cost of any shipment sent through any courier company can be affected by the amount of space that it occupies on an aircraft, truck rather than the actual weight. This is the volumetric (or dimensional) weight.

Shipping costs have historically been calculated on the basis of gross weight in kilograms or pounds. By charging only by weight, lightweight, low density packages become unprofitable for freight carriers due to the amount of space they take up in the truck/aircraft/ship in proportion to their actual weight. The concept of dimensional weight has been adopted by the transportation industry worldwide as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space a package occupies.

What is Volumetric Weight?
The volumetric weight of a shipment is a calculation that reflects the density of a package. A less dense item generally occupies more volume of space, in comparison to its actual weight. The volumetric or dimensional weight is calculated and compared with the actual weight of the shipment to ascertain which is greater; the higher weight is used to calculate the shipment cost.

How this Calculation can Benefits You
In line with today's advanced aircraft design and technology, it is necessary for any courier company to adapt a new computation in order to make efficient use of cargo space and to avoid over-bulking. By doing so, they can better streamline operations and in the process, deliver the benefits of space saving back to customers.

This will encourage shippers to improve packaging efficiency by using more compact and environmental-friendly packaging, thus reducing shipment volume and resulting in reduced shipping costs.

Almost all courier company have started volumetric calculation for shipments in response to efforts to standardize the volumetric weight calculation for low-density packages.

How to Calculate the Volumetric Weight of Your Express Shipments
The volumetric divisor can be variable as per each courier company's policy, divisor can be  5000 or 6000 or 2700 depending on type of mode or movement of shipment.
Example for Volume Weight Calculation
{Length*Width*Height (in cms)} divided by {(5000 or 6000 or 2700)}

Practical Application
Dimensional weight favors shippers of dense objects and penalizes those who ship lightweight boxes. A box of unpopped corn kernels will likely be charged by gross weight; a box of popcorn will probably be charged by its dimensional weight. This is because the large box of popcorn takes up a lot of space but does not fill up a vehicle's capacity in terms of weight, making it an inefficient use of space.

Shippers avoid dimensional weight charges by using smaller boxes, by compressing their goods, and by reducing the use of packing materials.
Source: DHL site, Wikipedia


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