Chargeable Weight

What is chargeable weight?

Chargeable weight (CW) is the number on your invoice — that is, the amount the carrier charges to move your shipment. More simply, CW is the figure that air, ground, or ocean freight shipping companies use to charge the customer. Whereas gross weight represents the actual weight of the freight itself (including crate and packing materials), the chargeable weight represents the greater of the gross weight or the volumetric weight.

How to calculate chargeable weight

To calculate the chargeable weight for air freight shipments, you first need to determine the volume of your cargo in cubic inches: volume = [length x width x height]. Next, divide your volume by the appropriate constant to uncover its volumetric weight: 166 for pounds and 366 for kilograms. And for shipments using volume in cubic centimeters, domestic couriers will use 6,000 as the constant. Lastly, compare the gross weight with the volumetric weight; chargeable weight is based on whichever is higher between gross weight and volumetric weight. 

Calculating chargeable weight: an example

Let’s explore an example of a chargeable weight calculation. Pretend your consignment has a measurement of 200 cm (length), 160 cm (width), and 120 cm (height), and the gross weight of the shipment is 600 kg. Here, volume = [200 x 160 x 120], meaning the volume is 3.84 million cubic inches. Now, divide the answer (3,840,000) by 6,000 to get your volumetric weight of 640 kilograms. Since gross weight is lower when compared to volumetric weight (600 kg < 640 kg), your chargeable weight is that of your volumetric weight (640 kg).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is chargeable weight for air freight?

    Air freight chargeable weight is the metric airlines use to determine the cost of your shipment. This amount can either be the volume weight or the gross weight of your air cargo, depending on which is greater. So with regards to air freight costs, the chargeable weight is calculated based on the weight or the volume of goods you’re transporting. 

  • What’s the difference between gross weight and chargeable weight?

    Gross weight is the actual weight of your cargo, which means the total weight including the product, packaging, pallets, and so on. Chargeable weight, however, is the number that appears on your invoice and what the shipper will charge to move your cargo.

  • Why is understanding chargeable weight important?

    Understanding chargeable weight is important because while every package has a ‘chargeable’ amount, many times it’s not even close to the actual gross weight — especially with less-dense packages. The fact that billable weight is the larger of the gross weight or volumetric weight can take customers by surprise, so knowing how to calculate your own chargeable weight will help you to plan for (or anticipate) shipping costs for air freight services.