It is easy to get confused between the term volume weight and actual weight. Introducing chargeable weight calculator. In this post, I am going to explain the difference between Volume Weight and Actual Weight in logistics.

What are actual weight and volume weight?

These are the technical terms for basic weight in the logistics industry.

Actual weight is literally actual weight. Volume weight is the weight of a cargo that the size of the cargo is converted from.

What is chargeable weight?

To understand volume weight, let’s learn about Chargeable Weight which is commonly used in logistics jobs. So I would like to explain it together.

Chargeable Weight is described by comparing the size and weight of a cargo and using the greater one for cost calculation.

The point is to compare the different units, “Large and Heavy” to each other.

Why is cargo shipping charged differently?

Logistics uses a limited amount of space to deliver and store the cargos.

When you do business with limited space, such as Shipping Lines, Airlines, and Warehouse companies, it may not be fair if you use only one unit of size or weight for cost calculation.

Chargeable Weight Calculator Example

If you are transporting “1 ton of bottle of water” and “1 ton of cotton” by air shipment, which one will take up more space?

Water is heavy but not bulky. Cotton is light and very bulky, so it takes up a lot of space.

Air line will have a big loss if they do cost calculation by actual weight for 1 ton of cotton, because transporting the bulky cotton takes up a lot of space in the airplane.

To prevent this, volume weight is used for cost calculation of large and bulky items.

what is dimensional weight vs actual weight

How is chargeable weight calculated? What is dimensional weight vs actual weight.

Actual weight and volume weight are compared, and the greater one is used as Chargeable Weight. Chargeable weight is calculated differently in ocean freight and air freight. Let’s look at them one by one.

Air Shipment Calculation

Chargeable Weight = Max(Actual Weight(Kg), Volume(cm)/6000)

Some couriers companies (DHL & Fedex) may divide by 5,000 instead of 6,000

Here is an example:

  • Actual Weight: 50kg
  • Cargo Size: 70cm(L) × 90cm(W) × 90cm(H) = 567,000 cubic centimeters
  • Volume Weight: 567,000 ÷ 6,000 = 94.5kg

Chargeable Weight is 94.5kg, the greater of 94.5kg and 50kg.

Ocean shipment calculation

In Ocean shipping, prices are normally calculated in cubic meters. So the chargeable item is slightly different.

Chargeable Volume = Max(Actual Weight(kg) / 363, Volume(cubic meters)).

Here is an example.

  • Actual Weight: 1,500 kg
  • Weight Volume: 1500 / 363 = 4.13
  • Actual Volume: 0.8m(L) × 0.9m(W) × 1.7m(H) = 1.22CBM

Chargeable Volume is 4.13, the greater of 4.13 and 1.22


Today, I explained the difference between volume weight and actual weight. This is basic word in the logistics industry and you have to remember the calculation method as a rule.

It is frequently used in LCL, Warehouse and Air shipment. Please understand the contents of this post and you’ll be able to use it.

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