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Volume weight vs Gross weight for air freight | An Importers Guide

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    The importer’s lexicon is full of terms and definitions heard here and there. Knowing a basic amount of these terms is necessary for any business person importing from China. In this article, we will be focusing on Volume weight vs Gross weight for air freight and will explain what each means.

    Air Freight Pricing Factors

    Air freight pricing is influenced by various factors that businesses need to consider when planning their shipments. One of the key factors is the weight of the cargo, which can be determined by either the volumetric weight or the physical weight, depending on which one is higher.

    Carriers often charge based on the weight that results in a higher cost, as it directly impacts the resources needed for transportation. Another pricing factor is the distance the shipment needs to travel, with longer distances generally incurring higher costs. Additionally, the dimensions and size of the cargo can affect pricing, as larger or irregularly shaped items may require special handling or take up more space in the aircraft. The urgency or time sensitivity of the shipment also plays a role, with expedited or time-critical shipments typically commanding higher prices. Lastly, factors such as fuel costs, customs fees, handling charges, and any additional services required can contribute to the overall air freight pricing. Understanding these factors allows businesses to plan and budget effectively for their air freight shipments.

    gross weight

    The Crucial Role of Weight in Air Freight: Impact on Cost, Efficiency, and Safety

    When it comes to air freight, weight plays a vital role in determining various aspects of the shipping process. Understanding the importance of weight in air freight is crucial for businesses looking to optimize cost, ensure efficiency, and prioritize safety. The weight of the cargo directly influences the pricing of air freight services, as carriers often calculate charges based on either the volumetric weight or the gross weight, depending on which one is greater.

    By managing and optimizing the weight of shipments, businesses can effectively control their shipping costs and avoid unnecessary expenses. Moreover, weight considerations are essential for ensuring efficient use of cargo space and maximizing the capacity of aircraft, allowing for better resource allocation and improved overall operational efficiency. Additionally, maintaining proper weight distribution is critical for safe handling and transportation of goods, minimizing the risk of damage or accidents during air freight. Therefore, recognizing the significance of weight in air freight is vital for businesses aiming to streamline their shipping operations and achieve cost-effective and secure transportation of goods.

    What is volume weight?

    Volumetric weight (volume weight) refers to a parcel’s total size and experts use volumetric kilograms for it. The volumetric weight can be calculated by first multiplying a parcel’s length, width, and height (in cm). And then dividing the number by 5000 (some carriers use a 4000 divider).

    Sometimes, you may find that your shipment’s price is determined by the volumetric weight of your parcel(s) rather than by the physical weight. This is because our pricing is determined on the basis of whichever out of volumetric weight and physical weight is the greater.

    It is worth noting that it operates in the opposite direction too. You could have a small box of heavy metal components weighing 10 kg in physical weight (30 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm). The parcel’s volume is 5.4kgs. The volumetric weight is lower than the physical cargo weight, in this case, meaning that the price would be measured on 10 kg.

    Further Reading: Comparing Air Cargo with Sea Cargo | 5 Facts You Probably Did Not Know

    Now that we read about the volumetric weight, on the way to understanding volume weight vs gross weight, let us move on to gross weight.

    Calculating Volume Weight for Air Freight: Step-by-Step Guide

    When it comes to air freight, calculating the volume weight is a crucial step in determining the cost and logistics of shipping. Volume weight, also known as volumetric weight, refers to the total size of a parcel and is often used by experts in the industry. To calculate volume weight for air freight, follow this step-by-step guide and make use of best practices to optimize your shipping process.

    1. Measure the dimensions: Start by measuring the length, width, and height of the parcel in centimeters. Ensure that you use accurate measurements to get precise results.
    2. Multiply the dimensions: Multiply the three dimensions together to obtain the total volume of the parcel. For example, if the length is 50 cm, the width is 40 cm, and the height is 30 cm, the total volume would be 60,000 cubic centimeters (50 x 40 x 30).
    3. Determine the divisor: Check with your air freight carrier to find out the divisor they use to calculate volumetric weight. While some carriers use a divisor of 5000, others may use 4000. This divisor represents the conversion factor from volume to weight.
    4. Divide the total volume: Divide the total volume of the parcel by the divisor specified by your carrier. This will give you the volumetric weight of the shipment. For example, if the divisor is 5000, dividing 60,000 by 5000 would result in a volumetric weight of 12 kilograms.
    5. Compare physical weight and volumetric weight: It is essential to compare the volumetric weight with the physical weight of the shipment. The carrier will charge you based on whichever weight is greater. If the volumetric weight exceeds the physical weight, you will be charged based on the volumetric weight.

    To optimize your shipping process and ensure accurate calculations, consider the following best practices:

    • Use precise measurements: Accurate measurements of the parcel dimensions are crucial to obtain reliable volume weight calculations. Use a measuring tape or a reliable measuring device to get precise dimensions.
    • Choose appropriate packaging: Opt for packaging that is suitable for your shipment’s dimensions. Avoid excessive packaging that may increase the volumetric weight unnecessarily.
    • Consolidate shipments: If you have multiple small parcels, consider consolidating them into a larger shipment. This can help reduce the overall volumetric weight and save costs.
    • Collaborate with experts: Work with experienced air freight professionals who can guide you through the volume weight calculation process and provide valuable insights into optimizing your shipping operations.

    By following this step-by-step guide and implementing best practices, you can accurately calculate the volume weight for your air freight shipments. This will enable you to make informed decisions, optimize costs, and ensure efficient logistics management for your business.

    What is Gross weight?

    Gross in the dictionary means Total. Gross weight, instead, means total weight. The gross weight will cover all of the shipping aspects required. It includes the product itself, its packaging and any other packaging required to allow the product to be shipped.

    For each transport method different aspects will add up to the gross weight:

    • We measure air transport gross weight as product weight plus packaging weight plus crew and passenger weight, fuel, and aircraft.
    • Gross weight for road or rail transport is the product weight plus packaging (tare weight), plus the weight of the vehicle or wagon.
    • Gross weight for waterway transport is measured as product weight and packaging weight (tare weight) or container weight.

    Further Reading: What is Bulk carrier? | All you need to know

    Gross weight plays a pivotal role in shipping as it encompasses the total weight of a shipment, including the product itself, packaging materials, and any additional packaging necessary for transportation. It holds paramount importance in various aspects of the shipping process, including cost calculations, ensuring safety during handling and transportation, and complying with regulatory requirements. When determining shipping costs, carriers consider the gross weight to allocate resources efficiently and accurately assess charges based on weight categories. Moreover, maintaining proper weight distribution is crucial for ensuring safe handling and preventing accidents or damage to the goods. Additionally, adhering to weight restrictions and guidelines is essential for regulatory compliance, avoiding penalties, and ensuring smooth customs clearance. Understanding and effectively managing gross weight are vital for businesses to optimize costs, uphold safety standards, and meet regulatory obligations in the shipping industry.

    gross weight and volume weight

    Volumetric Weight vs Physical Weight: How They Affect Shipping Costs and Strategies

    Volumetric weight and physical weight significantly impact shipping costs and strategies. Volumetric weight refers to a parcel’s size, calculated by multiplying its dimensions and dividing by a specified divisor. Physical weight, on the other hand, measures the actual mass of the shipment. Carriers charge based on whichever weight is higher, meaning that a lightweight but bulky shipment may incur higher costs based on volumetric weight, while dense and compact items are charged based on physical weight. Striking a balance between the two is crucial for cost optimization.

    To optimize shipping costs, businesses must analyze their goods’ characteristics and choose appropriate packaging and shipping methods. Compact packaging helps reduce volumetric weight for lightweight items, while minimizing wasted space in packaging reduces charges based on physical weight for dense goods. Calculating both weights accurately enables informed decisions on packaging, consolidation, and shipping methods. Consolidating small shipments into larger ones reduces overall volumetric weight and lowers costs. Collaboration with experienced logistics providers offers insights for effective shipping strategies based on volumetric and physical weight considerations, enhancing cost management and customer satisfaction.

    Volume weight vs Gross weight for air freight

    Some believe the volumetric weight is the same as the chargeable weight. For large loads, the chargeable weight is the volumetric weight automatically. This information, however, is not reliable because some parcels may have a higher density and therefore weigh more than their volumetric weight. In this case, the gross weight of the package will be the chargeable weight.

    You do not have to do all these maths while shipping with ddpch as our experts will do everything. If you have a bulky/heavy item to send, all you need to do is ask for an individual deal and our experts will do all of the calculations to make sure you get the right price and quality for your package. And with our years of experience in delivering sea and air freight, express cargos, Amazon FBA, and DDP shipments, we guarantee the fastest and most reliable procedures.

    A Comprehensive Overview of Key Factors Affecting Air Freight Pricing

    Pricing Factors Description
    Weight Determined by volumetric weight or physical weight
    Distance Length of the shipment's travel
    Dimensions Size and shape of the cargo
    Urgency Time sensitivity and need for expedited shipping
    Fuel Costs Fluctuating prices of aviation fuel
    Customs Fees Charges related to customs clearance and documentation
    Handling Charges Costs associated with handling and processing the shipment
    Additional Services Extra services such as insurance or special handling

    Optimizing Shipping Costs: Leveraging Volume Weight and Gross Weight to Your Advantage

    Optimizing shipping costs can be achieved by leveraging volume weight and gross weight to your advantage. By understanding the interplay between these two factors, businesses can make informed decisions that result in significant cost savings.

    Volume weight plays a crucial role in determining shipping expenses. Minimizing volumetric weight through efficient packaging techniques and consolidation can help reduce charges and maximize cargo space utilization. Similarly, understanding the significance of gross weight enables businesses to make strategic decisions, such as using lightweight yet durable packaging materials, to minimize overall weight while ensuring compliance with regulations. By effectively managing volume weight and gross weight, businesses can achieve cost-effective shipping operations and enhance their competitiveness in the market.


    In conclusion, at DDPCH, we understand the importance of Volume weight vs Gross weight in shipping. Our experts excel in handling these weight calculations to ensure accurate cost allocation and efficient logistics for our clients. We simplify the shipping process by providing tailored solutions and competitive pricing based on the weight that impacts costs the most.

    With extensive experience in various shipment types, including air freight, sea freight, express cargos, Amazon FBA, and DDP, we have established a reputation for fast and reliable procedures. Our commitment lies in offering the right pricing and quality for shipments, especially for bulky or heavy items, while prioritizing safety and compliance.

    At DDPCH, we recognize that Volume weight vs Gross weight hold significant importance beyond industry jargon, directly impacting our clients’ businesses. You can trust us to support your shipping needs with expertise, efficiency, and unwavering dedication to achieving the best outcomes.


     Air freight pricing is determined based on various factors such as weight, distance, dimensions, urgency, fuel costs, customs fees, handling charges, and any additional services required.

    Volumetric weight is calculated based on the total size of the shipment, while physical weight refers to the actual mass of the cargo. Air carriers charge based on the weight that results in a higher cost.

     Larger or irregularly shaped items may require special handling or take up more space in the aircraft, potentially influencing the pricing.

    Yes, expedited or time-sensitive shipments typically command higher prices due to the need for faster delivery and prioritized handling.

    Freight forwarders have industry expertise, established relationships with carriers, and knowledge of cost-saving strategies, allowing them to negotiate better pricing and provide guidance on optimizing air freight costs.

    Yes, various industry regulations, including security measures, customs requirements, and safety standards, can indirectly influence air freight pricing.

    Volumetric weight can be calculated by multiplying the dimensions (length x width x height) and dividing the result by a specified divisor, as provided by the carrier.

     It’s important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions to understand if there are any additional charges such as fuel surcharges, security fees, or documentation fees that may impact the overall air freight pricing.

    Consolidating multiple smaller shipments into one larger shipment can potentially reduce costs by optimizing space utilization and taking advantage of volume discounts.

    Yes, fuel costs are a significant component of air freight pricing as they directly impact the operating expenses of airlines.

    Businesses can optimize air freight costs by properly managing weight through efficient packaging, consolidating shipments, and selecting cost-effective routes and carriers.

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