What Is Dimensional Weight and How Is It Calculated?

One significant factor influencing shipment pricing is the dimensional weight. But what exactly does this term entail?

• What is dimensional weight?
• How to calculate dimensional weight (DIM weight)

Dimensional weight is a pricing method utilized to gauge the space occupied by a package relative to its actual weight, commonly known as the weight formula. Unlike traditional weight measurements, dimensional weight considers the item’s physical dimensions and weight, making it essential to understand how to calculate weight accurately. Consequently, determining the dimensional weight of an item and subsequently calculating the shipping cost can pose a challenge, especially when considering package dimensions.

Whether you manage shipping operations independently or collaborate with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, familiarity with dimensional weight is essential to avoid erroneous shipping charges. Understanding dimensional weight is crucial to ensure accurate pricing, particularly when dealing with a shipping weight.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of dimensional weight, elucidate its calculation process, discuss DIM weight pricing, and offer insights into its implications for shipping costs.

Please keep reading to gain a comprehensive understanding of dimensional weight and its impact on pricing.

DIM pricing entails incorporating dimensional weight (DIM) into the overall cost of shipping a package. If the DIM weight surpasses the item’s actual weight, it is utilized to determine the shipping price, demonstrating the importance of dimensional weight in shipping cost calculations.

Historically, before 2015, major shipping companies based their shipping costs on a straightforward formula. This formula primarily considered the weight of the item and the distance it needed to travel, without considering dimensional weight or package dimensions. The heavier the item and the longer the distance, the higher the shipping cost. However, in recent years, major carriers have introduced a third factor into their pricing equation: the size of the shipped item.

When shipping lightweight items in large boxes, these oversized packages occupy valuable storage space during transit, emphasizing the relevance of dimensional weight and package dimensions. Consequently, DIM Pricing has emerged, incorporating the volume of the package into the shipping cost calculation.

What is dimensional weight?

Dimensional or DIM weight is a pricing method utilized in commercial freight transportation, including courier and postal services. It is calculated by multiplying a package’s length, width, and height.

Given the limited space available on delivery trucks, dimensional weight considers the package’s density to determine shipping rates. Therefore, even if a package is lightweight, calculating its DIM weight could be beneficial.

Freight carriers such as USPS, FedEx, or UPS determine shipping charges based on the more excellent value between the package’s actual weight and its calculated dimensional weight. The higher of the two becomes the billable weight for shipping purposes.

How to calculate dimensional weight (DIM weight)

To determine the dimensional (DIM) weight, follow these steps:

Step 1: Measure the length, width, and height of the package, using the longest point on each side, considering any irregularities such as bulges or misshapen sides. This ensures accurate calculations and prevents unexpected fees for special handling.

Step 2: Round up the measurements to the nearest whole number as requested by most shipping carriers when calculating the dimensional weight.

Step 3: Multiply the package dimensions to obtain the cubic size of the package. For instance, if the package measures 30 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches, the cubic size would be the product of these dimensions: 4,320 cubic inches.

Step 4: Finally, divide the package’s cubic size by a dimensional factor, also known as a DIM divisor. These divisors are predetermined by significant freight carriers like UPS and FedEx and represent cubic inches per pound. This calculation yields the dimensional weight in pounds.

The current DIM divisor FedEx uses, for example, for domestic and international shipments, is 139 cubic inches per pound. Using our example above, you would divide 4,320 by 139 to get a dimensional weight of 31 pounds. Here’s how a shipping carrier would charge for the package in this example:

• If the package’s actual weight is less than 31 pounds (e.g., 29 pounds), the carrier will charge for the dimensional weight of 31 pounds since it is a more significant number.
• If the package’s actual weight is more than 31 pounds (e.g., 33 pounds), dimensional weight pricing will be based on the actual weight, not the dimensional weight, since they charge for the more significant number.