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Shipping via Shipcloud business rates: how do carriers calculate shipping costs and when is the volumetric weight used?
Shipping via Shipcloud business rates: how do carriers calculate shipping costs and when is the volumetric weight used?

Calculation basis for shipping costs and freight rates

Ina Kahl avatar
Written by Ina Kahl
Updated over a week ago

Via the Shipcloud Shipment Quote (price check) you can easily check our shipping rates for DHL, DPD and UPS.

In this article you will learn on which basis the carriers DHL, DPD and UPS calculate shipping costs. In addition, we explain when and how the volumetric weight is calculated.

In this article 👇

How do carriers calculate package prices?

The carriers calculate shipping costs on different bases. Basically, shipping prices are determined based on your specified shipping and package data. The following factors play a role in the price calculation:

  • Address of the sender / shipping address

  • Address of the recipient / destination country

  • Package dimensions (length, width, height)

  • Package weight or volumetric weight of a shipment, if applicable

  • Selected (additional) service(s)

What is volumetric weight and when is it used for shipping price calculation?

The volumetric weight describes the space a shipment takes up in the cargo hold during transport. It thus determines the density, i.e. the space a package takes up compared to its actual weight, and indicates the ratio of package to cargo space.

With the help of the volumetric weight, carriers determine the dimensions of a package and can thus calculate the space required for transport. Accordingly, the volumetric weight is determined on the basis of the parcel volume.

For this reason, the carriers compare the actual package weight (real weight; also weighing weight) with its volumetric weight and calculate the shipping costs based on the higher value. Thus, the carriers use the volumetric weight to determine the so-called freight rate or the chargeable weight.

How is the volumetric weight calculated and what divisor do carriers use?

If your parcel is very large in relation to its weight, you must consider the volumetric weight when calculating shipping rates. If the volumetric weight is greater than the actual weight of a shipment (real weight), it will serve as a basis for calculation and the price of your shipment will thus be calculated based on the volumetric weight.

You can calculate the volumetric weight by multiplying the length, width and height (in cm) of a shipment and dividing the resulting value by a divisor value (in cm³/kg).

Volumetric weight = length(cm) x width(cm) x height(cm) / divisor(cm³/kg).

The divisor value is determined by the respective parcel service and is usually 5000 or 6000. The value you have to use as a divisor for the calculation of the volumetric weight therefore depends on the respective carrier and the type of transport.

Any further questions? We're happy to help.

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