Recent UPS and FedEx Changes Could Cost You Big, Learn How
The Complications of Shipping
In a perfect world, everything that you want to ship would fit perfectly into flat rate boxes every time a delivery was to be made. If you’re an Ecommerce retailer though, you know that this is not the case much of the time. Though it may appear easy on the outside, shipping gets complicated, especially when dimensional weight is a concern.
How to Calculate Dimensional Weight
Dimensional weight is used by shipping and freight companies to minimize costs associated with order fulfillment services. It has been used by air freight for a long time, and about 5 years ago, large shipping companies like FedEx and UPS started calculating it and applying the results to packages shipped by ground service. Dimensional weight multiples the length, width and height of a package (its cubic size) and once the weight is assessed, it is compared to the actual poundage (so to speak) of the package. The larger of the two determines the package’s billable weight. It is more specifically calculated by measuring the height, length and width of a package in inches, using the longest point on each side and taking into consideration any misshapen edges or bulges. To get the cubic size of the package, multiply those dimensions. For example, if your package is 20” x 13” x 13”, the dimensional weight would be 3,380 cubic inches.
When calculating dimensional weight, most shipping carriers have customers round to the nearest whole number. So, for example, if the length of your package is 10.50 inches or higher, you would round up to 11” but if it is 10.49” or below, you would round down to 10 inches, and so on. The major carriers, UPS and FedEx, currently calculate dimensional weight the same way, which is to take the package’s cubic size and divide by 166 for domestic shipments and 139 for international shipments. In many instances, it is used to determine a package’s billable weight, which is the cost of shipping the package.
Recent Shipping Industry Changes Regarding Dimensional Weight
If air service is being utilized for your package’s delivery, dimensional weight will always factor into the cost. If ground service is the shipping method used, it used to only be subject to dimensional weight standards if the package was 3 cubic feet or larger (5,184 cubic inches). If the cubic size was less than 3 cubic feet, dimensional weight wasn’t used and billable weight was determined by actual weight. J.M. Field Fulfillment does calculate shipping costs based on dimensional weight depending on the delivery method and size of the package. However, effective December 29, 2014, the entire industry adopted new weight calculations, with UPS for example, using dimensional weight to calculate the billable weight of all Ground and Standard packages. On January 1, 2015, FedEx changed to apply dimensional weight pricing to all of its shipments. If you don’t pack efficiently, you will have to pay a high volumetric weight so it’s important to minimize wasted space inside your shipment.