The chargeable weight of air cargo shipments is calculated as the actual weight (gross weight) or the volumetric weight (also called volume or dimensional) of the shipment, whichever is greater. This uses an estimated weight that is calculated based on the dimensions (length, width and height) of a package (shipments are always displayed in the order of L x W x H). Normally, large items with a lightweight total weight take up more space on an airplane than a small, heavy item. That is why airlines charge according to the imputable weight.

The weight that is charged is commonly used by air carriers, motor carriers and national brokers to calculate their air transport and / or domestic transport expenses.

For those of you who simply want the formulas without a detailed explanation, here they go:

The formula for calculating dimensional volume / weight for all products is 166 cubic inches per pound or 6000 cubic centimeters per kilogram or 366 cubic inches per kilogram.

**Multiply the length by the width by the height to obtain the cubic inches, then:**

- To obtain the dimensional weight in pounds using inches, divide the result in cubic inches by 166
- To obtain the dimensional weight in kilograms using inches, divide the result in cubic inches by 366
- Using dimensions in centimeters: to obtain the dimensional weight in kilograms using centimeters, divide the result of the cubic centimeter by 6000

**Some definitions and formulas to begin with:**

**Collectable weight:** the highest between the actual weight and the weight per volume of a shipment. The collectible weight is a balance point where the actual weight and weight of the cargo volume are balanced for the airline, BUT, note that if the actual weight of the cargo is greater than the “breakeven point”, the Air freight charges are billed at that actual weight

Volume / Volumetric / Dimensional weight: Weight of the load based on the dimensions of the load

**Actual weight:** Real weight of the heavy load on a scale

**Pounds or pounds:** pounds

**Kg or kgs:** kilograms

**Cft or ft3:** cubic feet

**Cbm or m3:** cubic meters

**Ton or mt:** metric ton 1,000 kg / 2,204.6 pounds

**Basic conversions:**

1 inch = 2.54 centimeters (cms) / 1 cms = 0.393701

1 lbs = 0.453592 kgs / 1 kgs = 2.20462 lbs

**Examples of imperial shipping factor:**

167 in3 / lb = 10.4 lb / ft3

Examples of metric delivery factor:

5000 cm3 / kg = 200 kg / m3

6000 cm3 / kg = 166.667 kg / m3

7000 cm3 / kg = 142.857 kg / m3

**Note:** all dimensions and weights are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Combination of dimensions in inches and weight in kg: (L x W x H) / 366 (this is commonly done in US exports, since dimensions are given in inches, but air freight charges are always in kg)

**How do I calculate the volumetric weight to determine the collectible weight of my air shipment?**

**Example 1** – The actual weight is greater than the weight of the volume:

The ABC Company will send some cargoes from Los Angeles to Shanghai. The shipment consists of 5 boxes / cartons, each weighing 30 kg, each measuring 50 x 40 x 40 cms / 19,685 x 15,748 x 15,748 inches.

Real gross weight = 5 boxes x 30kg each = 150 kgs

Volumetric weight in kg using centimeters = (50 x 40 x 40 cm) x 5 boxes / 6000 = 67 kg

Volumetric weight in kg using inches = (20 x 16 x 16) x 5 boxes / 366 = 67kgs

Result: 150 kg is greater than 67 kg, so the loadable weight will be 150 kg, which, in this case, is the actual weight.

**Example 2: the volumetric weight is greater than the actual weight:**

The ABC Company will send some cargoes from Los Angeles to Shanghai. The shipment consists of 3 boxes / cartons, each weighing 10 kg, each measuring 50 x 40 x 40 cm / 19.6 x 15.7 x 15.7 inches.

Real gross weight = 3 boxes x 10 kgs each = 30 kgs

Volumetric weight in kg using centimeters = (50 x 40 x 40 cm) x 3 boxes / 6000 = 40 kg

Volumetric weight in kg using inches = (19.6 x 15.7 x 15.7) x 3 boxes / 366 = 40 kgs

Result: 40kgs is greater than 30kgs, so the rechargeable weight will be 40kgs, which is also the volumetric weight.

Alternatively, you can click here http://cargotracking.utopiax.org/convert2.html to use a conversion tool that calculates the imputable weight to determine if your shipment will be billed according to the chargeable weight or actual weight.

**How does DHL / Fedex / UPS / TNT / Canada Post calculate the air freight charges?**

Centimeters / Kilograms:

DHL: (L cm A- W cm A- H cm) / 5000 or 4000 according to certain import criteria / country

FedEx: (L cm A- W cm A- H cm) / 6000 (new) or / 5000 (old, still used in Asia) for international shipments, (L cm x W cm x H cm) / 7000 for domestic shipments

UPS: (L cm A- W cm A- H cm) / 6000 o / 5000 according to certain import criteria / country

Position of Canada (L cm A- W cm A- H cm) / 6000 o (L in A- W in A- H in) / 166

Inches / pounds

FedEx Express and UPS: (L in A-W in A-H in) / 139

FedEx Ground and UPS Ground: (L in A-W in A-H in) / 139

For your information: The above divisors are subject to change by carriers. Please contact us for more information.