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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.”

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. 

E-Commerce + Dim Weight

As e-commerce has exploded, parcel companies have been expanding to accommodate the sheer volume of packages circulating the globe every day. E-commerce has continued to explode at unprecedented levels, with an endless variety of products being ordered by consumers and businesses. 

For shipping companies, it’s important to ensure there is room on trucks for this unprecedented growth. One way to do this is by having more trucks. However, this is not always feasible; and it is hard on the environment. 

Parcel companies had to create more solutions for this problem that didn’t depend on the number of trucks – such as dimensional weight restrictions. All of the major parcel companies have their own shipping factor and calculations for dim weight, but the bottom line is e-commerce companies in particular need to be focused on eliminating the empty space in their boxes.

The Impact of Free Shipping  

Fast and free shipping has become expected in the e-commerce shopping experience. This means that companies have to seek the most cost effective shipping solutions in order to preserve their bottom lines. 

Creating a package that is most efficient for dimensional weight means having a plan to balance the costs of shipping with the pressure of low/no costs to the customer. At Morrisette, we help our customers explore the best packaging options to achieve this goal.  

What to Look For

Anyone who relies on shipping goods to customers needs to pay attention to the current dimensional weight factors for their chosen parcel company. These rates can change at any time. If the weight factor goes down, this causes an increase in the shipping cost. This impact can be dramatic for companies of all sizes. 

Also, pay attention to the outside package size. Parcel companies measure the outside dimensions of the box, but box companies often market the inside dimensions. This can be a difference of a quarter to half an inch. If you apply this to every package, you can be making wrong projections about your shipping fees. 

How to Approach Dim Weight for Your Packaging Line

At Morrisette we have been solving the dim weight challenge for our customers even before the new shipping fees were introduced, at which time we worked quickly with our customers to ensure they had the best packaging solutions and materials for minimizing empty space in their boxes. 

We continue to monitor dim weight restrictions and new packaging solutions that optimize dim weight for our customers. For example, our customers have saved money with packaging mailers due to their ability to fit tightly to a product. This makes it possible to fit more mailers on a truck than if the items had been packed in boxes. Mailers also weigh less than boxes, and can be safe for some of the most fragile items.

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