The "dimensional weight" calculations seem to be confusing for most people, so UPS has helped us with the explanations below.
Definition: Dimensional weight, or size of the package, is a standard formula used throughout the air-freight industry that considers density when determining charges. The calculations are used to consider the amount of space a package will take up on an aircraft in relation to the actual weight of the package.
Shipping industry standards dictate two different dimensional weight calculations, one for domestic or the Continental USA and Puerto Rico, and the second for all International shipments and shipments to Canada. Packages that exceed UPS weight and size limits are subject to an Over Maximum Limits charge.
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To determine the dimensional weight of a package:
A. Multiply the package's length by the width by the height (round each number to the nearest whole inch). The result is the cubic size of the package. If this number is 1,728 inches or less, use the actual weight in your rate calculations.
B. If this number is more than 1,728 inches, divide the cubic size by 194 to determine the dimensional weight (in pounds). Increase fractions of a pound to the next full pound.
Compare each package's actual weight to its dimensional weight. The larger of the two weights is the billable weight and is always used to calculate the rate. This is the reason that a hat which takes up a lot of "mass" or space, for example, which weighs only about three pounds, is rated at 10 pounds or so, in calculating the shipping charges.
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To determine the dimensional weight of a shipment:
A. Multiply the package's length by the width by the height (round each fraction to the nearest whole number). The result is the cubic size of the package. For a multiple-package shipment, the results for all of the packages are added together. The total is the cubic size of the shipment. (For billing purposes, each International package recorded in a UPS Shipping Record Book is considered a separate shipment.)
B. Divide the cubic size by 166 if measured in inches, or by 6,000 if measured in centimeters, to determine the dimensional weight. If the weight is in kilograms, multiply the weight by 2.20465 to determine the weight in pounds. Increase fractions of a pound to the next full pound.
Compare the package's/shipment's actual weight to the dimensional weight. The larger of the two weights is always the billable weight and is used to calculate the rate.
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