Net Weight vs. Gross Weight- The Simple but Complete Guide

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When it comes to international shipping, weights make a huge difference. The shipping can be done via freight modes of a truckload or intermodal. It is important to consider Net, Gross, and Tare weights. Different countries have different sets of rules and regulations associated with weights. The reason we are emphasizing weight is it is used to determine the shipping cost, whether it is by air, rail, road, or sea.


Why Are Weights Important To Be Considered?

The prices of commodities depend upon their weights; thus, there is a need to show accurate weight to be paid by the consignee. Another important reason for accurate weighing is that it makes it possible to operate while loading cargo on a ship with its allowed carrying capacity. The paperwork, quotes, and bill of lading would help to determine which weight the costs are based on for that shipping company.

So, you should understand the clear relationship between Net, Gross, and Tare weight. There should be no room for the potential misunderstanding caused due to paperwork provided by the freight company. For the bill of lading, weights become important to be considered as it is one of its main components. Paperwork is a significant element for freight forwarders. 

You might know about a disastrous event held back in 2017, “MSC Napoli,” due to failure in managing the weights. Besides other factors, the major reason behind the incident was the extra weight of the vessel. While examining the case, they have found that the load carried by the ship surpassed the carrying capacity. For international shipping purposes, the declaration of consignment and container weight is crucial. There are three types of weights, including Net weight, Gross weight, and Tare weight. You will need to count these to make transportation efficient and reliable. Every container with products has to pass through the weight estimation process to avoid overloading. 

Doubts about Weights

When it comes to the estimation of different kinds of weights for shipment, things do not always seem clear and straightforward. Some people have limited knowledge of Net weight and Gross weight. All these types of weights are interlinked with each other. Less knowledge of any weighing criteria leads to problems. When shipping is done on a large scale, the whole process becomes more complex. It becomes essential to understand the differences in shipping weights and regulations. Though, people have doubts about the same, which prompts confusion while calculating costs. So, here we are answering the most asked questions related to weights. 

What does Net weight mean in International shipping?

Most people know about Net weight mentioned on food packaging. The Net quantity implies the weight of the food article in that package, wrapper, or container. Net weight refers to the total weight of raw products without packaging or container. For reference, you may consider the weight of sardines before placing in a tin container. It doesn’t include the weight of any container in which you have kept the product.


It is the weight of goods alone in which the container’s weight isn’t considered. For calculation purposes, nett weight equals Gross weight minus Tare weight.


What is Gross weight in international shipping?

Gross weight refers to the total weight of shipment, which includes weights of products, pallets, containers, and the transport vehicle. It is the weight of the container plus the maximum payload it can hold. There might be several instances in which the Net weight and Gross weight of cargo will be the same amount. Suppose some car tires have been shipped without any packaging, the two weights will become the same.


 The shippers include the weight of the truck itself to calculate the gross weight. During international shipping, the shipper considers the ocean liner and the gross weight of cargo. 

What is the difference between Gross weight and Net weight?

Net weight is the term with which almost every person is familiar as found on food packaging. For example, if you have kept the beans in a can, then the net weight will be the weight of beans only. The term gross weight implies total weight. Gross weight is the total weight of the shipment, including the weight of raw products, packaging, container, and transport vehicle. Net weight is only the weight of raw products. 


Another important difference between these two types of weights is that gross weights vary depending upon transporting type, while Net weight will remain the same in every case. We can get gross weight after adding from the weight of the raw product to the weight of the transport vehicle. We can get the net weight by subtracting the Tare weight from the Gross weight. 

How do you calculate Gross weight for shipping?

The term gross weight refers to the total weight of the item along with the weights of more aspects. You should know the calculation for more convenience. 


If you want to calculate Gross weight, you should weigh your raw product without packaging. After this, you should weigh the packaging. Further, you will need to add both these recorded weights to get gross weight. 


How do you calculate Net weight?

It is important to calculate the weight of goods before packaging for shipping cost estimation. It is the weight or mass of the goods themselves without packaging. Thus, we can get the net weight by subtracting the weight of the container or packaging from the total weight or Gross weight. In simple terms, the Net weight is Gross weight minus Tare weight. It is necessary to know that Tare weight is not part of the Net weight. 


 You will get gross weight when you will weigh the product along with packaging, while you will get tare weight by weighing the container.

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How do you calculate Gross weight from Net weight?

Gross weight refers to the total weight of the trailer (or when it comes to intermodal the combination of chassis and container) with articles contained in it. Gross weight is the total weight of all items in the shipment.


 Gross weight=Net weight+ Tare weight


 For air transport, the Gross weight is calculated by adding Tare weight, Net weight, the weight of aircraft, fuel, passengers, and crew. In the case of waterway transport, the shipmaster will consider Gross weight as the sum of Net weight and Tare weight. 


 If you have the Net weight of the product, you can calculate the Gross weight. For example, if you have products having a Net weight of 5000 pounds packed in 10,000 pounds of the container, then the gross weight will become 15,000 pounds, that is, 5000 pounds+10,000 pounds.

What is Weight Break Point?

Weight breaks are an important part of LTL freight pricing. When a company has to fulfill its shipment needs, it searches for the best ITL shipping rates, it becomes important to consider the two pricing factors that include freight class and weight. Weight breakpoint refers to the point at which the weight of the shipment is large enough to be assessed, the lower freight rates which can apply to larger shipments according to the carrier’s tariff. Weight breakpoints give a rational price curve beneficial for sales efforts. It is the weight at which shipment will be rated at a lower per pound rate related to more heavy shipments. 

What is Tare Weight?

Tare weight is also called unladen weight. Tare weight refers to the weight of an empty vessel or container. If you have goods weighing 15lb, while the total weight of the bag is when packed, is 20lb then the Tare weight would be 5lb. By estimating Tare weight from Gross weight, the user can determine the precise weight of the items in the container. This type of measurement is important for international shipping to determine how much material you add to the container. One can accurately measure the weight of weighed menu items.

What is the relationship between Net weight vs. Gross weight vs. Tare weight?

 Net, Gross, and Tare weights are correlated with each other. The sum of Tare weight and Net weight is used to get the Gross weight that we have on scale. The equation obtained implicating the relationship between these three weights is given as below:-


 Net weight=Gross weight- Tare weight


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 What is the importance of Tare weight in shipping?

 With the help of Tare weight, one measures the Net weight, which is the weight of goods contained in the packaging. When you need to estimate Tare weight, you will be needed to weigh your luggage bag without any goods.


 When you are calculating total weight for international shipping purposes, Tare weights should be accurately calculated to avoid any confusion or problem during the paperwork before sending it for shipment. You can calculate the weight of products and their shipping expenses after estimating Tare weight. Without Tare weight, one cannot estimate Gross weight accurately. Also, you can choose the right container for your product.

 Does Net weight consider Tare weight in calculating freight costs?

There are circumstances in which the weight of the product isn’t itself heavy, but the packaging makes it. So, the Tare weights are considered to calculate freight costs. You will need to first determine the Net weight and Tare weight to estimate Gross weight. To get Net weight, you have to subtract Tare weight from the Gross weight. 

What is CWT in shipping?

Hundredweight is often abbreviated as CWT, which refers to the standard unit of weight or mass used in certain commodities markets. Generally, it is used to price smaller shipments of goods. The value will vary depending upon the continent. It has simplified the intercontinental trade.

How do you calculate freight charges with CWT rates?

To calculate freight charges, you should have the accurate current weight of the freight you are moving. After this, the total weight will be divided by 100 to get a figure for “per hundred pounds.”


What is L5C?

L5C is the abbreviation used for determining less than truckload carrier rates. In this abbreviation, each figure signifies something given as follows:-


 L stands for less than.

5 is the multiplier by which you multiply.

C stands for hundred, with which the number will be multiplied.


L5C implicates “less than 5×100”.

How many CBM is 1 kg?

CBM is cubic meters calculated with the help of the dimensions of the shipment. 


 1 CBM is equal to 1 kg.

How do you calculate the Shipment weight per hundred?

To calculate the shipment weight per Hundred, you should know the original weight of the shipment. Then, divide the shipment weight by 100. The result will give you per hundredweight. 

 What is Total Gross weight?

Total Gross weight equals the sum of Net weight and packaging or container weight. In other words, Gross weight is the addition of Net weight and Tare weight. When the shipping is done through air transportation, the Gross weight is estimated by adding the weight of the plane, fuel consumed, and people on board. All related weights are added to the Net weight and Tare weight. When it comes to road transport, the weight of a truck or bus is added to the Net weight and Tare weight to get total Gross weight. In the case of water transport, Gross weight is Net weight plus Tare weight. 

Do freight brokers consider shipment weight when calculating rates?

Shipment weight is the most important factor while evaluating freight costs. Thus, freight brokers consider shipment weight to determine the weight breakpoint in which shipment falls.

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Which weight between Net weight and Gross weight should be declared in a container bill of lading?

Bill of lading is issued by a carrier to acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment. This document contains the details of the type, quantity, and destination of goods being carried. Cargo Gross weight is declared in this. The Cargo Gross weight is the sum of product weight and packaging weight. The weights of boxes, cartons, or cans are also included. 

 Is Gross weight the same as volumetric weight?

Gross weight is all about how much packaging is weighing, while volumetric weight is the size of the parcel. Gross weight is distinctive from the volumetric weight. The Gross weight of the shipment is estimated by the weight of cargo and that of packaging. You can get the volumetric weight by the help of dimensions. 


How do you calculate the Courier Chargeable weight?

The chargeable weight is calculated with the help of either Gross weight or volumetric weight. The higher value among the Gross weight and volumetric weight is considered for calculation. 

What is the Distance between Chargeable weight and Gross weight?

 Chargeable weight is used to estimate the amount the carrier charges to move the shipment. The chargeable weight is whichever is greater among the gross weight and volumetric weight. Some shipment records have both Gross weight and Chargeable weight written on them. Further, the shipping company uses it to calculate Chargeable weight, including it in the invoice.

 How does Net weight vs. Gross weight affect shipping cost?

When referred to a container, Net weight is the total weight of cargo, excluding the container’s weight after it has been packed. Net weight is all about the base weight of the product by itself. Gross weight includes the whole aspects required for shipping. The calculation of transportation costs depend upon the weight of the shipment. When you need the shipment to reach fast, the weight and distance will definitely affect the shipping cost. For air freight shipping, shape and weight both affect the cost.

What is a Deficit weight charge?

Weight breakpoint is important to calculate CWT rates. The rates are gotten using the higher weight breakpoint. Deficit weight is the difference between the actual weight of the shipment and that of a higher weight rank. Deficit charge is the cost charged by the shipping company on deficit weight.

Why is it important to understand Gross weight vs. Net weight?

While referring the cargo, Gross weight is the total weight of raw cargo and containers. In case if the container is further packed in cartons, then the Gross weight will include the weight of cartons as well. While referring the container, the Gross weight will be the sum of the total weight of cargo and the Tare weight of the container. Net weight is the weight of the total number of products loaded into a container but excludes the weight of the container. If there is any mistake during estimation, it can give rise to chances of mishap caused due to the weight in the containers. It is important to understand all these weights to estimate shipping costs on your own. You can understand invoices and bill of lading from freight brokers. Also, you identify the appropriate sort of packaging that suits best for containers. 

 What adds cost during shipping?

The shipping will increase depending upon the heaviness of packaging. When the products are not properly arranged in the packaging, they will occupy more space. More space will get higher volumetric weight raising the Chargeable weight. The large size of packaging will add cost.


To understand the quotes from freight companies, a deep understanding of varied shipping weights becomes necessary. This is because there are some variations and limitations imposed by states or different regions, and you need to pay enough attention to markings and route the freight accordingly. The three main types of weights considered are Net weight, Gross weight, and Tare weight. Many of us learned about weight since youth, but still, people have doubts about the real meaning and calculation of weights. Some people believe that all these units are the same, which can never be. All these weights have their significance.

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