Volumetric weight made simple.
Why am I charged based on it?


What is it? Why am I being over charged by the courier company despite the actual weight of my package lesser than the so-called “dimensional weight”? Why am I sometimes charged on the basis of actual weight and sometimes on the basis of the size or dimensions of the package?

Ask customer service associates at any courier company, we bet this is one of the commonly asked questions. This question is asked so often that almost all courier companies have included this in their FAQ section just like us.

Ok now let’s get to the point. Before we go into the details, understand that every package or consignment is measured in two ways:

Number one is the actual weight. Its nothing but the physical weight of the item. You keep a box on the weighing scale and you see the digital display showing the weight, that’s nothing but the actual weight.

The next measurement carried out is called the volumetric weight also known as dimensional weight. This is lesser known because, we normally don’t measure the dimensional weight in our day-to-day life as there isn’t any practical need for us to do that.

But why is it important in courier and how is it calculated?

Calculating volume weight is a normal everyday thing in businesses like courier and air cargo. This is because in shipping space is money and the space is simply limited. Let’s better understand this with the help of an example. Imagine you want to ship a box filled with 10 Styrofoam sheets inside a box of size of 30 x 30 x 20 CM and that the actual weight of the box is only 700 grams.

“In shipping space is money”

Now if the courier were to charge you based only on the actual weight the carrier or the courier company would incur substantial loss. Why? This is because although the package weighs only 700 grams its going to take up a lot of space given its dimension. And as mentioned earlier the space is limited be it a truck or an aircraft or the usual two-wheeler that courier personnel’s use. Given the size of the box, the courier company may have to allocate a bigger vehicle for pickup and delivery as this may not fit into the courier bag of the pickup/delivery personnel. More over this material is not stackable meaning nothing heavy can be kept on the top of it while being transported. In this specific case the volumetric weight of the item would be 3.6Kg and charging the package based on the actual weight would mean loss to the company. Courier companies ships out hundreds of packages every month and shipping out only on the basis of actual weight can bring substantial loss to the company.

That brings to the next question, how is the dimensional weight, in this case 3.6 Kg calculated? Does it vary from carrier to carrier?

There are internationally accepted standards to calculate it. There could be slight variations depending on the carrier but generally speaking the formula is as follows:

Length x Width x Height (in cm) / 5000 = Weight in Kilograms

“Always remember actual weight or volumetric weight whichever is higher is chargeable “

So next time when you decide to courier a package, do take the dimensions of the package as well while weighing the item so that you know forehand how much you’re going to be charged. More over it also helps you to cross check when the carrier provides you with the chargeable weight after they have measured. Got questions? Feel free to ask. Talk to one of our shipping experts today.


Fetcher Express

Fetcher express is a leading international courier service provider offering affordable door to door delivery from anywhere in India to over 50+ countries worldwide. Popular countries include USA, Canada, UK, Australia, UAE etc. We ship both commercial and personal packages. Want to learn more? Talk to our friendly shipping experts today