Learn how to calculate chargeable weight the way airlines do and save money by packing lighter!

Every time you ship cargo via air, the airline will measure and weight every piece you are going to ship to calculate the final chargeable weight: that’s the real weight considered on the budget the airfreight will negotiate with you.

Why is chargeable weight used instead of gross weight?

You see, some goods are heavy, but they take very little space, while other are very light but take lots of space. Picture a shipment of cotton and steel. Cotton may take more space compared to a steel shipment. However, a steel shipment will be weighing more. Should both be charged using volume? Weight? The way airlines charge this is by choosing the higher value between the volumetric weight and the actual weight of the cargo.

Dimensional weight vs Gross weight

The internationally accepted way to calculate chargeable weight is:
  1. First you need to convert all units to kilos (KG) and centimeters (CM).
  2. Calculate the dimensional weight of each piece using the international formula:
Divide the length multiplied by width multiplied by height by 6,000 (LxWxH)/6,000
  1. Compare the result of dimensional weight with the gross weight of each piece.
  2. Consider the higher value.
So imagine you have 3 pallets with the following dimensions and weights:
PalletsL (CM)W (CM) H (CM)Weight (KGs)
  First, as we already have the values in CMs and KGs, we need to calculate the dimensional weight of each piece and compare it with the actual weight in KGs. For the final sum, we must consider the higher values, which are the chargeable weight of each piece.
PalletsL (CM)W (CM) H (CMWeight (KGs) Dim. Weight (LXWXH)/6000
840 KGs

How to save up on air freight costs

Now that you know how airlines will charge you, how can you start saving up on airfreight costs?
  • Use the smallest carton size possible.
  • Minimize wasted space by compressing products that can be compressed.
  • Pack lightweight cartons together, if possible.
  At EP America, we can quote any air shipment from and to any airport in the world. Ask us about our promotional air rates at: airandocean@ep-america.com