LTL carrier rebills: Calculating the volume of your shipment

Transcript

Why is Accurately Calculating the Volume of a Shipment So Important?

When it comes to LTL freight shipping, few measurements are as important as volume. The volume of your shipment, calculated in cubic feet, represents how much space the load takes up on the trailer. Because LTL efficiency and profitability are based on how many shipments heading in the same direction can be configured onto a trailer, utilizing exact volume measurements is paramount to LTL carriers. Volume in cubic feet, when combined with the weight, is also used to determine a shipment’s density, which is then used to determine its freight class (if you don’t use the NMFC code book or the item isn’t listed), and the freight class has a direct effect on the cost to ship.

The bottom line? Precisely calculating the volume of a shipment is critical when shipping LTL. Not only will correct measurements help you obtain an accurate quote for your shipment, but it will also help you avoid unexpected rebill charges resulting from carrier reweighs and reclassifications. Most carriers have sophisticated technology like forklift scales and dimensionalizers that use high-tech lasers to determine a shipment’s weight, dimensions, and volume in seconds. If a shipment is incorrectly measured, weighed, or calculated on the BOL, carriers are sure to catch the discrepancy. If they do, it can result in additional charges to your shipping invoice and possible delays if the shipment must be moved to another trailer to fit.

 

How to Calculate the Volume of a Shipment

  • Start with accurate measurements. Measure the length (L), width (W), and height (H) of the item in inches, including all packaging, pallets, and skids. For irregularly shaped objects, measure them as if they are in a rectangular box, using the most extreme points.
  • Multiply the L x W x H to get the volume. This formula will yield the volume of the item in cubic inches. If you have multiple items, repeat these steps for each and add them all together.
  • Divide by 1,728 to get the cubic feet. (*1,728 is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot)

The number you get from this formula is the volume of the shipment in cubic feet. For example:

If your shipment has a length (L) of 40 inches, a width (W) of 48 inches, a height (H) of 54 inches, and a weight of 400 pounds, the formula will look like this:

40” x 48” x 54” = 103,680 cubic inches

Next, convert your answer to cubic feet:

103,680” / 1,728” (*the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot) = 60 cubic feet (volume)

To determine this shipment’s density (pounds per cubic foot), take the weight (400 lbs) and divide it by the volume you just calculated (60 ft3):

 

400 lbs / 60 ft3 = 6.67 pounds per cubic foot

Precisely measuring and calculating the length, width, height, weight, volume, and density is crucial to ensuring your shipment is represented correctly on your paperwork, configured properly onto the trailer by your carrier, and charged accurately on your initial quote. The best advice to avoid carrier rebills regarding weight and dimensions is to measure twice, ship once.

Image of trucks lined up in a parking lot

Why is Accurately Calculating the Volume of a Shipment So Important?

When it comes to LTL freight shipping, few measurements are as important as volume. The volume of your shipment, calculated in cubic feet, represents how much space the load takes up on the trailer. Because LTL efficiency and profitability are based on how many shipments heading in the same direction can be configured onto a trailer, utilizing exact volume measurements is paramount to LTL carriers. Volume in cubic feet, when combined with the weight, is also used to determine a shipment’s density, which is then used to determine its freight class (if you don’t use the NMFC code book or the item isn’t listed), and the freight class has a direct effect on the cost to ship.

The bottom line? Precisely calculating the volume of a shipment is critical when shipping LTL. Not only will correct measurements help you obtain an accurate quote for your shipment, but it will also help you avoid unexpected rebill charges resulting from carrier reweighs and reclassifications. Most carriers have sophisticated technology like forklift scales and dimensionalizers that use high-tech lasers to determine a shipment’s weight, dimensions, and volume in seconds. If a shipment is incorrectly measured, weighed, or calculated on the BOL, carriers are sure to catch the discrepancy. If they do, it can result in additional charges to your shipping invoice and possible delays if the shipment must be moved to another trailer to fit.

 

How to Calculate the Volume of a Shipment

  • Start with accurate measurements. Measure the length (L), width (W), and height (H) of the item in inches, including all packaging, pallets, and skids. For irregularly shaped objects, measure them as if they are in a rectangular box, using the most extreme points.
  • Multiply the L x W x H to get the volume. This formula will yield the volume of the item in cubic inches. If you have multiple items, repeat these steps for each and add them all together.
  • Divide by 1,728 to get the cubic feet. (*1,728 is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot)

The number you get from this formula is the volume of the shipment in cubic feet. For example:

If your shipment has a length (L) of 40 inches, a width (W) of 48 inches, a height (H) of 54 inches, and a weight of 400 pounds, the formula will look like this:

40” x 48” x 54” = 103,680 cubic inches

Next, convert your answer to cubic feet:

103,680” / 1,728” (*the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot) = 60 cubic feet (volume)

To determine this shipment’s density (pounds per cubic foot), take the weight (400 lbs) and divide it by the volume you just calculated (60 ft3):

 

400 lbs / 60 ft3 = 6.67 pounds per cubic foot

Precisely measuring and calculating the length, width, height, weight, volume, and density is crucial to ensuring your shipment is represented correctly on your paperwork, configured properly onto the trailer by your carrier, and charged accurately on your initial quote. The best advice to avoid carrier rebills regarding weight and dimensions is to measure twice, ship once.

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