In Shipping, Size Matters!

January 2nd, 2015 by

dimcountermat7In shipping there is a concept called “dimensional weight”, sometimes referred to as “dim weight”. The concept is pretty straightforward. If you have a box with a bowling ball in it, you pay for the weight to ship it. That seems pretty intuitive. However, the same size box filled with feathers weighs hardly anything at all, but it takes up the same amount of room on the truck or plane as that bowling ball box. So you pay for size, or “dim weight”. You pay for the actual weight or the “dim weight” – whichever is higher.

“Dim weight” is determined by multiplying the length, width, and height of the box to determine its cubic inches then divided by a “dim factor” decided upon by the carriers, currently 166.

Air shipping has always been “dimmed” as jet fuel is expensive, however, in the past ground shipping has not had dim factors applied until the package exceeded three cubic feet – one example is a box that measures 24x18x12. That size is three cubic feet, so anything smaller would ship at actual weight. Anything larger will ship at actual or “dim weight”, whichever is higher.

Beginning this month, in addition to the regular rate increases that come every January both UPS and FedEx will begin applying “dim weight” factors on ALL shipments, ground and air, regardless of size.

What this means to you

It means many lightweight packages will see an increase in cost, not only for the yearly increase, but for the size as well. For example, a 12x12x12 box that weighs 5 lbs. and shipped via ground was charged for 5 lbs. in 2014. With these new changes, a 12x12x12 box dims to 11 lbs. so you will pay for actual weight or 11 lbs., whichever is greater.

Bottom line – if you ship large, lightweight packages your costs will increase, possibly by quite a bit. This is completely beyond our control – it’s what UPS and FedEx have decided to do to combat people using boxes that are too big for what they’re shipping and taking up excess space on the trucks. Think about all those non-fragile Amazon packages you receive with multiple air pillows in them!

As always, we will continue to find the most cost effective solution for your shipping needs while using the smallest packaging possible that still properly protects your items from damage. We appreciate your understanding that this is a carrier decision, not a Pak Mail one.



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