Calculating air volume weight: ultimate guide to optimizing your shipments

International Freight Forwarder

Calculating air volume weight: ultimate guide to optimizing your shipments

Are you wondering how air transport rates are calculated based on volumetric weight, and why volumetric weight is so important in air transport? 

This article aims to provide you with a clear and comprehensive understanding of the concept of volumetric weight in air transport. 

Mastering this concept is essential to optimize your shipments and avoid unnecessary fees.

  • The definition and importance of volumetric weight
  • Mastering how to calculate volumetric weight and understanding its impact on rates

What is volumetric weight in air transport?

Understanding the weight/volume ratio and its effects is necessary for air transport.

Definition of volumetric weight

Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is a measure used in air transport to determine transport fees based on the space occupied by a package rather than its actual weight. It is significant because airlines must maximize the use of available space in aircraft.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), volumetric weight is used to ensure that shippers pay a fair rate for bulky but lightweight shipments.

The weight/volume ratio used in air transport

The standard ratio used to convert volume to volumetric weight is 1 cubic meter = 167 kg. This ratio translates the volume occupied by the goods into a chargeable weight.

For example, if a package measures 1 cubic meter, its volumetric weight will be 167 kg, even if its actual weight is lower. 

This ratio directly influences rates because airlines charge based on either the volumetric weight or the actual weight, whichever is higher.

According to Marie Dupont, logistics expert at AirCargo Express:

Understanding volumetric weight is essential to avoid unexpected transport fees and optimize space utilization in air shipments.

How to calculate volumetric weight in air transport?

Calculating weight/volume can be complicated; follow our guides to simplify your calculations as much as possible.

Formula for calculating volumetric weight

The standard formula to calculate volumetric weight is:

Volumetric Weight = Length (cm) × Width (cm) × Height (cm) / 6000

This formula uses the standard conversion ratio of 1 m³ = 167 kg. 

Each component of the formula represents the package dimensions in centimeters, and the divisor 6000 is used to convert the volume from cubic centimeters to kilograms.

Practical examples of calculation

Here are several examples of volumetric weight calculations for different types of shipments, comparing the volumetric weight with the actual weight:

Dimensions (cm)Actual Weight (kg)Volume (cm³)Volumetric Weight (kg)Charge
40 × 30 × 205240004Actual
100 × 50 × 502025000041.67Volumetric
120 × 80 × 607057600096Volumetric

Estimate your volumetric weight

We provide our expertise and commitment to offering quality logistics solutions to optimize your shipments. Feel free to request a quote for an exact estimation.

Our 3 strategies to optimizing your air shipments through volumetric weight calculation

Nos 3 stratégies pour réduire le poids volumétrique :

  1. Compact packaging: We use fitted packaging to reduce empty space in your parcels.
  2. Lightweight materials: We opt for lighter packaging materials.
  3. Consolidation of shipments: We group several shipments to optimize space.

TechMove successfully reduced its transport costs by 15% using more compact packaging and lighter materials. 

These strategies have significantly optimized our logistics

says Jean-Luc, logistics manager at TechMove.

Using online tools for calculation

Online tools and software can simplify the calculation of volumetric weight. Platforms like ShipBob and Easyship offer integrated calculators to facilitate this task.

Frequently asked questions about air volumetric weight

Here we answer frequently asked questions from customers.

What is the volume of 1 kg of air?

The volume of 1 kg of air at room temperature is approximately 0.84 m³. This density is used to understand the principles of volumetric weight in air transport.

According to air physics experts "The density of air varies depending on temperature and pressure, but a common estimate is 1.2 kg/m³.”

How does volumetric weight influence transport rates?

Airlines use volumetric weight to calculate rates because it better reflects the space used by bulky but lightweight goods. This allows them to optimize space and maximize revenue. calculer les tarifs, car il reflète mieux l’espace utilisé par les marchandises légères, mais volumineuses. Cela permet d’optimiser l’espace et de maximiser les revenus.

Claire Lefèvre, logistics director at AirTrans, explains:

Understanding volumetric weight is crucial to avoid unexpected transport costs and optimize logistics planning.

By mastering the calculation of volumetric weight and using our tools and advice, you can optimize your air shipments and save on transport fees. For personalized advice and tailored solutions, contact our experts today.

Increase the efficiency of your air shipments

By reading this article, you now know how to calculate volumetric weight, its impact on transport rates, and strategies to optimize your shipments. This knowledge allows you to make more informed choices and reduce your logistics costs.

For more information and answers to all your questions about maritime freight, check out our FAQ on maritime freight. You will find useful information to continue developing your business activities successfully.

Take the time to visit our site and discover how we can help you optimize your international logistics operations. For personalized advice and tailored solutions, contact our experts today.


Worldgistic is the number one international freight forwarder in Southeast Asia and Europe. With over 15 years of experience and a team of qualified experts, choose Worldgistic!

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