United Parcel Service (UPS®), FEDEX®, The United States Postal Service (USPS®), and other package carriers charge what is known as ‘dimensional weight pricing’ for certain package sizes shipped using one, or more, of their service classes.
Note: Rates and calculations are subject to change at any time. Consult your carriers’ rate tables for any updates.
Before you start calculate the Dimensional DIM Weight, you might want to know some basis information as below.
What is Dimensional Weight?
Dimensional weight rate is a calculation based on volume (the amount of space a package occupies relative to its actual weight). If the volume exceeds a certain number of cubic inches, your billable weight rate typically is higher, not the actual weight of the package being shipped.
Note: Package minimum weight, length of package, or class of service being used, and package size may also affect the price charged. That amount may differ for DIM weight calculations.
This DIM pricing method uses a simple formula, no matter what class of service, to determine the minimum charge you pay for a package.
What is U.S. Dimensional Weight (US DIM)?
U.S. Dimensional Weight is determined by multiplying L x W x H and dividing by 166. The shipping weight used will be the greater of actual weight or dimensional weight. This allows the shipper to account for bulky, lightweight packages vs. small, heavy packages.
What is International Dimensional Weight (International DIM)?
International Dimensional Weight is determined by multiplying L x W x H and dividing by 139. The shipping weight used will be the greater of actual weight or dimensional weight. This allows the shipper to account for bulky, lightweight packages vs. small, heavy packages.
Why does Dimensional Rate Weight shipping exist?
When the carrier places your package on the plane or truck it uses up space, and space is a premium, especially if the truck weight limits are greater than the cargo they are carrying. Their fixed costs are typically unchanged for the load size. Dimensional weight assures the carrier is getting paid properly for the space the packages actually take up on their trucks and airplanes.
This has become more important to carriers as fuel charges has increased, the density of shipping material has changed, and the type of cargo mix has changed.
How to determine Dimensional Weight?
Typically it is done like this: using the package’s Length (L), Width (W), and Height (H) measurements in inches and rounding up to the next full number for each measurement, you then multiply L x W x H to get a number that is the cubic inches of your package.
For UPS and FEDEX Ground shipments to the US, if the cubic inches exceed 5184 inches (3 cu ft.), then dimensional weight rates will apply. (If the total cubic inches is under 5184 inches, then you typically use the actual rates for the weight of the package)
Once you have calculated the cubic size of your package and have determined that it is 5,184 cubic inches or greater, you are ready to calculate the dimensional weight. Divide the cubic size of your package by 194 (166 for International shipment) rounding up to the nearest full pound.
Your billable weight will be either the actual weight or dimensional weight of package, whichever is greater.
Examples on how to calculate the Dimensional DIM Weight?
Example #1: Actual package weight: 22 lbs.
Length (L): 30 inches
Width (W): 15 inches
Height (H): 15 inches
Cubic size calculation: 30 in x 15 in x 15 in = 6,750 cubic inches
Dimensional weight calculation: 6,750/194 = 35 lbs.
Because the dimensional weight (35 lbs.) is greater than
actual weight (22 lbs.), 35 lbs. becomes the billable weight.
Example #2: Actual weight: 28 lbs.
Length (L): 30 inches
Width (W): 12 inches
Height (H): 6 inches
Cubic size calculation: 30" x 12" x 6" = 2,160 cubic inches
Because the cubic size in inches is less than 5,184, dimensional weight does not apply. The actual weight becomes the billable weight.