How to Calculate Chargeable Weight for Air & Sea Freight Shipment?

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(Last Updated On: 2021年7月7日)

If you read this article from the first to the very last second, you will learn how to calculate chargeable weight for air and sea freight shipment. There are several factors we must consider when it comes to such calculations. We will introduce you to all of these matters. Let’s start with the basics. When we want to calculate chargeable weight for sea and air freight shipment, we must start by explaining what CBM and freight ton means. Keep on reading to find out!

How to Calculate CBM and Freight Ton?

In order to learn how to calculate chargeable weight for air & sea freight shipment, we must understand how to calculate CBM és how to count freight ton. We will focus on these two in the next couple of lines. Watch and learn!

CBM Meaning – What does CBM Stand for?

First of all, we need to know the basics. Let’s start with that: CBM stands for Cubic Meter. One cubic meter is usually around 167 kgs when it comes to air cargo transportation. This is the accepted standard. CBM shows us the volume of the air cargo shipment, so it is quite an important factor. PLease keep these in mind as we will come back to CBM a bit later!

Freight Ton Meaning – What is Freight Ton?

When we talk about volumetric cargo shipment, the most common unit that we can think of is freight ton. Freight ton is the measurement for such cargo shipments.Freight ton is also called Revenue ton. When you see this name, please note that these two are used as each other’s synonyms. The name contains the word “ton”, so you must think it is about weight. And you are right to think so.

We use freight ton to describe the weight of the cargo – 1 Metric Ton equals 1,000 kgs. We must derive Freight (or Revenue!) Ton by calculating both the volume or the weight of the cargo first. The freight will be charged on the higher number, so we must check both to get the proper numbers that we actually need!

First of All - What is the Actual Weight?

The Actual Weight is what the cargo actually weighs. The name is pretty self explanatory. The Actual Weight (AW) includes Net Weight (NW) and Gross Weight (GW) as well. Naturally, the Actual Gross Weight is often used as the synonym for the Actual Weight, as it includes the Net Weight as well. In fact, this number is often the same as the Calculated Volumetric Weight.

Secondly - The Volume Weight Explained for Dummies

Volume Weight is the synonym for the expressions Dimensions Weight as well as Volumetric Weight. These three are the same thing, we can use them interchangeably. In order to be able to calculate the Volume Weight, we must first find out about the volume of the cargo. This happens via using a special formula. It is 1:167 as 1 cubic meter usually equals 167 kilograms.

The Difference between Volume Weight and Actual Gross Weight Explained

The formula will decide whether the air cargo shipment company will charge based on volume or gross weight. For example, if the gross weight of a cargo is 250 kgs, and the CBM is 1.3, then we much multiply the CBM by the volume: 1.3 * 167 = 217. This is a smaller number than the gross weight, so the airline companies will charge – in this case – based on gross weight, and not the volume weight. This is the difference between the two. The gross weight shows us the actual weight of the cargo, while the Volume Weight shows us the expected weight, to put it in a simple way.

How does an Air Freight Company Calculate Volumetric Weight?

Step 1: Calculate the volume weight of the air freight shipment. You can do so by the method shown above. Multiply the cubic meter by the volume of the cargo, and then you get the number of the Volumetric Weight.

Step 2: Compare the Gross Weight with the Volumetric Weight. If the latter one is higher, the air freight company will charge based on that. If the Gross Weight is the higher number, then you will have to pay based on that.

The Way Express Couriers do it - How to Calculate Volumetric Weight Like a Boss?

When it comes to Express Couriers, it is important to understand the basics of how these companies calculate Volumetric Weight. By Express Couriers, we mean the industry leading companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx. Our goal was to understand how they calculate – and to teach you the same. That is what we will try to explain to you in the next few lines – please read and learn. These companies have three different methods when it comes to calculating Volumetric Weight.

The basic formula that these Express Couriers use is the following: length (cm) × width (cm) × height (cm) / 5000. This is the method to calculate Volumetric Weight. However, please note that only these companies use this formula, so this is not the industrial average. It is only for DHL, FedEx, UPS and TNT.

The Method of Standard Package Measurement

Naturally, the standard package measurement method is the most simple and the easiest way to calculate Volumetric Weight. In this one, we must calculate the width, height and length of the carton. For example, if it is a 20 × 20 × 20 cms square, then the formula looks like this: 20 × 20 × 20 = 8000. 8000 / 5000 = 1.6. If the Actual Weight is above 1.6 kg, then they count based on the Actual Weigh. If the AW is below 1.6, then they count based on this method. And the chargeable weight will be 2 kg!

The Method of Surface Package Measurement

Sometimes the carton box gets damaged, or at least the shape and the size changes during the transportation. In this case, these companies calculate with the altered numbers. For example, we might have counted 20 × 20 × 20 cms for the standard method, but the package could have changed its numbers to 18 × 22 × 23. In this case, the Volumetric Weight is 1.82. The chargeable weight will once again stand at 2 kg.

The Method of Irregular Package Measurement

Sometimes you need to pack your goods into irregular packages. In this case, the numbers will be different. In these cases, you need to consider the longest side of the package. Please note that you must check the outer side as that’s what the Express Couriers will do as well!

Sea Shipping Calculation Method

When it comes to sea shipping calculation methods, we can think of 4 different ways. Let us present these to you!

  • Sea shipping companies make a difference between heavy goods and light goods. These are closely related to billing, transportation, storage and stowage.
  • Sea shipping companies distinguish between Heavy Weight Cargos and Light Goods or Measurement Cargos. Each ship has a capacity factor. If the package’s cargo stowage factor is less than the ship’s capacity factor, then it is Heavy Weight Cargo. If the number is larger, then it is Measurement Cargo.
  • There is another method. Based on that, cargos with smaller stowage factor than 40 cubic feet per ton or 1.1328 m^3 per ton are heavy cargo. We talk about light goods or foamgoods when the number is larger.
  • Basically in sea shipping calculation, 1 cubic meter equals 1 ton. Most of the packages sent via sea shipping method count as light goods. The vast majority of sellers haven’t even heard of Heavy Weight Cargos, because they are so rare.

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