In Partnership with Pregis
Adapting to Dimensional Weight Restrictions
Over 5 years ago dimensional weight restrictions permanently changed the world of parcel. Before that, shipping rates were purely calculated based on weight - the heavier the box, the more it cost to ship.
Companies had to redesign their packaging solutions to accommodate a new pricing structure that considered both the package weight and volume. If this was not done properly, shippers faced high fees and major price increases. This model still exists today and likely isn’t going away.
According to FedEx, “Dim weight is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. For each shipment, you are charged based on the dimensional weight or actual weight of the package—whichever is greater.”
How Did Dim Weight Restrictions
Come to Be
The purpose of dimensional weight restrictions is to reduce emissions due to poorly packed boxes. Empty space in a package means higher costs and negative impacts on the environment. Extra void fill is also needed when there is a lot of empty space in a box. Not only is this wasteful for the shipper, but it is also a waste of natural resources.
Shipping companies essentially forced shippers to make their packages smaller to help the environment, and their bottom lines. Trucks have weight restrictions that parcel companies have to follow; if they don’t properly charge their customers, they could be at a deficit.
Finding a Proper Dim Weight Strategy
Tips for Calculating Dim Weight
Dimensional weight reflects package density (amount of space a package occupies). For each dimension, measure at the longest point, rounding each measurement to the nearest whole number (for example, 1.00 to 1.49 will be considered 1 and 1.50 to 1.99 will be considered 2). The dim divisor for a customer who has daily rates (this would be a customer who has a UPS account and set pricing) is 139 and the divisor for retail rates is 166.
To get the dimensional weight, a customer would take the L x W x H divided by the divisor (139). If a customer ships a 24x24x12 box, for example, the dimensional weight is 50 pounds. The customer would need to put something in that box that is over 50 pounds to be charged actual weight versus dimensional weight.
We recommend that our customers pack items in a box/envelope as tightly as possible with as little "air space" as possible.