Volumetric vs. Weight: How Indo4ward Determine Shipping Calculations

The methods of calculation for shipping cost can vary between vendors. While many domestic shipping companies can choose to play very competitively with weights alone. Cross border shipping, cannot.

Today, we’ll address the most frequently asked questions about when volumetric or weight measurements are used, and why volumetric measurements are used to determine shipping costs.

Volumetric or Weight?

The first question we were asked a lot is why Volumetric is being used more often than weight alone?

Simply to answer this question, it is because cross-border shipping often is done through air freight where every space matters. A space saved, means a space wasted. Although weight is typically the primary measurement unit, products are often not dense enough to fully offset their size in relation to weight.

Take for example:

Scenario A – Volumetric is being used because…

A packet of potato chips may be very light in weight, but it would take up alot more space than it should because of the air and packaging requirements. That space itself can easily be occupied by more valued items. However, due to the space requirement, it naturally wouldn’t make sense to calculate the cost based on weight.

Scenario B – Weight is being used because…

However, if an item is very dense. Assuming water or heavy metal. Items would instead be heavier than the space used. Now it wouldn’t have been sensible, because a plane has limited space and weight they could carry. 

Hence, you see, the decision to charge according to volumetric or weight really depends on the item itself. The international standard in deciding which to use really comes down to whichever is heavier.

Photo by billow926 from Pexels

Why can’t you use sea-freight over air-freight if space and weight is such a big issue?

Simply put, sea-freight almost always takes up a very long time, and it wouldn’t work in small volumes. Hence, that left us only operating with air-freights.

I saw a company that charges based on weight only, why can’t you do the same?

This is particularly false, we have checked almost all vendors in the market, and it is a standard practice where shipping vendors charge according to volumetric or weight (whichever is higher). 

That includes vendors which have websites that use weight as their quotation basis, you will always be able to find a disclaimer where they will finalise their invoice according to volumetric or weight (whichever is higher). So, don’t be fooled!

Kirana Suharto
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