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Dimensional Weight

Dimensional Weight

Find out how FreightCenter carriers utilize dimensional weight instead of freight class to determine your cost to ship.

What Is Dimensional Weight?


dimensional weight tape measure measuring a piece of wood

Dimensional weight is a standard formula used throughout the freight industry. It is a formula that considers a shipment’s density when determining charges. Transportation charges are based on one of two factors—the gross weight of the shipment or the dimensional weight. Whichever of the two is greater will often be the applied charges. Simply put, dimensional weight is when the weight is less than the actual size of the package—for example, a box filled with inflated basketballs.

Commercial freight services often use dimensional weight charges. Companies such as the US Postal Service may use an estimated weight based on a box’s height, length, and width. Most freight shipping services originated by charges services based upon weight only. Lightweight large items were not profitable under this pricing structure. This caused the industry to create a dimensional freight pricing structure. Most carrier companies worldwide have adopted some form of dimensional weight calculations. To find out what carriers use for their specific calculation, visit their website. Use smaller boxes to avoid being penalized by dimensional weight charges. Do not risk packaging or damage to your shipped items by using too small of a package.

When Do Dimensional Weight Charges Apply?

When the actual weight of a package is less than the calculated dimensional weight, carriers may charge by the dimensional weight or the actual weight. Each carrier will have different guidelines for when dimensional charges may apply. Our freight agents can help you select the best methods or offer leading industry advice to help.

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