UPS, FedEx and DHL International Shipping Weight Calculator

Some of the pains that ecommerce businesses may experience with international shipments are:

  1. Miscalculation of international shipping charges, or not calculating them at all.
    • This will put your business in the awkward position of having to contact every customer that places an order to collect extra money for shipping.
  2. Getting billed more than expected by shipping carriers.
    • This may result in not hitting your target margins or even losing money on orders.
  3. Losing orders due to not listing international shipping charges and forcing customers to call or email to get a shipping quote.
    • The possibility of losing casual buyers is greatly increased when potential customers are able to find the same product, on another website that displays the international shipping cost.

Rather than worrying about losing orders or money, and dealing with extra work from the potential problems listed above, you can avoid some of these issues by calculating international shipping weight and displaying the cost to your international customers. International shipping weight is calculated differently than domestic shipping weight, International shipments are calculated similarly to domestic overnight or 2nd day air shipments. This is often a factor that comes into play when ecommerce businesses are experiencing one or more of the potential pains listed above.

While almost every ecommerce business has their domestic rate, billable weight and shipping charges calculating correctly, they may not have taken all of the factors into consideration that differentiate international and domestic billable weight. Billable weight is the greater of the actual weight and dimensional weight(when applicable). One way to ensure that you are always billed the actual weight on your domestic ground shipments is to only use boxes that are below 5184 cubic inches. You may have to pack one shipment in multiple boxes, but you will save yourself a lot of shipping charges that you would be billed for otherwise.

One of the biggest disconnects in calculating international billable shipping weight vs. domestic billable shipping weight is dimensional weight. With domestic ground shipments dimensional weight does not become a factor until a box exceeds 5,184 cubic inches. With international shipments the dimensional weight is always a factor in determining the billable weight, just like domestic air shipments. Depending on if a shipment is a domestic or international shipment, the dimensional weight will vary due to the fact that the domestic dimensional weight factor is different than the international dimensional weight factor.

The dimensional weight factor is a value that all of the major carriers use to calculate the dimensional weight. The formula that is used to calculate dimensional weight is Length x Width x Height / The Dimensional Weight factor. The dimensional weight factor for domestic shipping is 164 and the international dimensional weight factor is 139. You may not think that dimensional weight makes much of a difference now, but in the examples below you will notice how big of a difference the dimensional weight can make in what you need to charge customers and what you will be charged by the shipping carrier.

International Shipment

 

Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
  • Length: 12”
  • Width: 12”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 1728
  • Dimensional Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Length: 16”
  • Width: 16”
  • Height: 16”
  • Cubic Inches: 4,096
  • Dimensional Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Length: 51”
  • Width: 15”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 9180
  • Dimensional Weight: 67 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 67 lbs.

Domestic Shipment

 

Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
  • Length: 12”
  • Width: 12”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 1728
  • Dimensional Weight: 11
  • Actual Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Length: 16”
  • Width: 16”
  • Height: 16”
  • Cubic Inches: 4,096
  • Dimensional Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Billable Weight:  7 lbs.
  • Length: 51”
  • Width: 15”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 9180
  • Dimensional Weight: 56 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 56 lbs.

Domestic Air Shipment

 

Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
  • Length: 12”
  • Width: 12”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 1728
  • Dimensional Weight: 11
  • Actual Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Length: 16”
  • Width: 16”
  • Height: 16”
  • Cubic Inches: 4,096
  • Dimensional Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Length: 51”
  • Width: 15”
  • Height: 12”
  • Cubic Inches: 9180
  • Dimensional Weight: 56 lbs.
  • Actual Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Billable Weight: 56 lbs.
  • Cubic Inches = Length x Width x Height
  • Dimensional Weight = Length x Width x Height / Dimensional Weight Factor
  • International Dimensional Weight Factor = 139
  • Domestic Dimensional Weight Factor = 164
  • International Billable Weight = Greater of Actual Weight and Dimensional Weight
  • Domestic Billable Weight = Greater of Actual Weight and Dimensional Weight if Cubic Inches > 5184
Shipping Package Dimensions

Shipping Package Dimensions

In writing this blog post we are hoping to help give eCommerce businesses the knowledge and tools to properly calculate international billable shipping weight. While it may be a little overwhelming, this is something that can help increase your conversion and revenue by capitalizing on the international traffic that is naturally landing on your site every day. If you do not have the software or technology in place to calculate the correct international shipment billable weight, you can always meet with iGlobal or another 3rd party vendor to discover the best international solution that fits your business.

3 Comments
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