Quote or Ship, Call Us


Dimensional Weight Formula: The Most Common Misunderstanding About Shipping

June 3rd, 2015 1:51pm

When shipping a domestic or international package, you are not alone when you are shocked that only a 2 pound package costs $48 to ship, or a 3 kilogram box costs $82 to import from China. Nine times out of ten, this is due to the way the carriers measure dimensional weight and how they figure it into their pricing. 

Carriers make sure they are not wasting space on their plane, train, truck, vessel, etc., the shipping company is going to charge you based on whichever is the greatest between the actual weight of the package and the dimensional weight of the package. It is very simple. 

The shipping companies run out of volume space a lot more than they run out of weight capacity on a vessel. If a package is large but does not weigh very much, the dimensional weight is going to be larger than the actual weight and they are going to charge the customer a higher amount for using more space on their vessel. This is how it is figured: 

You want to ship a box that is 10x10x10 inches from the United States to Canada. The box weighs 5 pounds. Since this is an international shipment, the shipping company is going to use this dimensional weight formula for your box:

10x10x10 inches=1,000

1,000/139 = 7.19 lbs

7.19 lbs is greater than the actual weight of 5lbs, and therefore is the weight in which the carrier will quote this package.


The same principle goes for domestic shipments, but with a slightly different formula:

Dimensional Weight Domestic Packages

*** Please remember these formulae are based on measurements in inches. Click here for a conversion calculator. ***

As you can see, light contents in a large box can greatly increase your shipping costs. If you are a shipper sending frequent packages and being charged on dimensional weight instead of actual weight, your business' bottom line is taking a hit. 

For any questions at all. Reach a Certified International Specialist at InXpress for advice. 


To higher sales and smarter shipping... Thank you for reading. 


Blake Waller 

InXpress E-Commerce 






If you enjoyed this article, learn more below:


The Thousand Dollar Mistake


Complete and Simple Explanation of Incoterms


Boosting Sales; Expanding into Latin America 


Better Pages = More Sales 





Location: Blog >> Dimensional Weight Formula: The Most Common Misunderstanding About Shipping

©2019 InXpress

Return to Top