Navigating Volumetric Weight Charges

There’s a golden rule to remember when sending parcels. Always pack your items tightly or you could find yourself paying a higher price than you should be. In short, don’t pay for air!

Don’t fall into the trap of packing very light small items in large boxes. The cost of shipping your package can be affected by the amount of space that it occupies on an aircraft or van, as well as its actual weight. In parcel delivery-speak, this is known as volumetric weight. Carriers will charge whichever is greater: the volumetric weight or the actual weight.

If you are sending a small and relatively delicate item, the temptation is to put it in the centre of a very large box and stuff it with packaging chips. It’s very reassuring visually but it will possibly cost you extra and might not be as secure as a smaller package, tightly packed to reduce the chance of the item moving around.

Volumetric weight can seem to be one of the more arcane and obscure things to consider when sending a parcel. Happily there is a free volumetric weight calculator on our website. When booking your parcel, our calculator takes into account which carrier will be flying the parcel, if it is being sent overseas, and works out all the costs instantly.

For budding Einsteins, however, here is how shipping companies work out volumetric weight: let’s say an international carrier uses a volumetric divisor of 5000. If a parcel has a width of 40cm, a height of 50cm and a length of 60cm, the calculation is 40 x 50 x 60 = 120,000. Divided by 5000 that gives you a volumetric weight of 24kg.

Awkwardly shaped objects can be tricky for the unwary shipper. Volumetric weight is always calculated on the nearest conventionally square package size your item or items ‘fit’ into. Rather than using a standard square box and paying for all the unused space, consider checking to see if specialist packaging companies offer more suitably shaped solutions. See our helpful packaging blog for more advice and tips.

When you are happy you have packed your item as tightly as possible, consult our volumetric weight page to find the best price.

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