Planning to ship goods internationally? What you might not know is that logistics companies don’t simply charge clients for the actual weight of the product to determine what you pay for shipping (known as the parcel’s billable weight). Instead, they often charge based on dimensional weight instead, which can end up costing you more.
Here are three easy steps to getting the best deal on your shipping:
1. Pack wisely
Logistics companies weigh your parcel to determine its actual weight and also calculate the dimensional weight. They then use the heavier of the two weights to determine the shipping price. The reason for this is that a light, bulky, or oddly-shaped package will take up more space in a container than a small, densely-packed parcel.
Think of the difference between a box of books and a box of bubble wrap rolls. Even though the box of books may be heavier, the bubble wrap will take up much more space. This means that packing correctly and being selective about the items you ship can save you money.
Here are some tips for packing wisely for shipping:
- Use smaller boxes – it’s better to pack smaller, compact boxes than to only partially fill larger boxes.
- Compress goods when possible.
- Reduce packaging material – if you don’t need it to protect the product, go without it, or use space-saving packaging materials.
2. Calculate your parcel’s actual weight
This is the simplest step. Take your parcel, place it on a scale, and record the weight reflected on the scale. Knowing the weight of your parcel will ensure you know how much shipping it will cost, and gives you the opportunity to add or remove items, depending on how much you want to spend.
3. Calculate your parcel’s dimensional weight
Next, you need to determine how much space your parcel will physically occupy in the cargo container. To do this, you need to determine its dimensional weight.
To calculate dimensional weight, first calculate the volume of the package using this formula:
Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm)
For example, if your package is rectangular in shape with a length of 60cm, a width of 45cm, and a height of 35cm, the calculation is as follows: 60cm x 45cm x 35cm = 94,500cm3
Once you have the volume, divide the volume by your logistics company’s conversation factor. The conversion factor differs from company to company, so I recommend that you request it in advance. Many freight companies use a conversion factor of 5000, but some may even use one as high as 6000 or 7000.
Using our above example and a conversion factor of 5000, the dimensional weight of the package will be: 94,500/5000 = 18.9kg
Note: Logistics companies will usually round the results up to the nearest half kilogram. In most cases, they will also charge a standard price if packages weigh less than 2kgs (but it is always best to check with the provider you plan to use).
Once you know your parcel’s actual weight, dimensional weight, and your logistic company’s conversion factor, you can easily determine how much you will pay for shipping, and if necessary, repackage your goods to save costs.
By packing wisely, doing your homework on the best logistics companies, and calculating your parcel’s actual and dimensional weight before shipping, you can ensure that you get the best possible deal for your shipping.