Dimensional weight (DIM) hasn’t always been a regular charge included in shipping rates. In the past, packages were only billed by weight, regardless of the size of the package. For example, if you sold large canvas paintings, the weight would be minimal, but this package would take up a large amount of space in a FedEx or UPS truck. The shipper paid little to ship when comparing it to the amount of prime available space the carrier was losing out on in delivery trucks. Carriers began charging dimensional weight to help ensure that the costs they absorbed to deliver a package would match the fee they charged to the shipper. But dimensional weights can be hard to accurately measure in order to understand how it will impact your bottom line.
This article is part of the Simplifying carrier agreements series intended for shippers and resellers better navigate the complicated world of parcel shipping. Read more.
How to calculate dimensional weight
Dimensional weight pricing is based on volume versus actual weight of shipments. It is calculated by determining the cubic size of a package which means multiplying its length by width by height and dividing by 139. U.S. domestic services packages less than or equal to 1,728 cubic inches usually use a 166 divisor. The higher the divisor the lower the dimensional weight charge.
FedEx dimensional weight charges in 2018
Recently, FedEx announced its detailed rate changes for 2018. All services have been impacted by these changes including the FedEx SmartPost option which is normally a reasonable shipping method for high-volume shippers who need a financially practical option. On Jan. 22, FedEx will begin applying a dimensional weight (DIM) factor of 139 to all SmartPost packages. The change will align SmartPost dimensional weight pricing with that of FedEx Express and FedEx Ground. It will even closely match FedEx SmartPost DIM pricing with that of UPS SurePost. As of now, UPS SurePost still has a higher DIM factor of 166 for packages measuring less than one cubic foot.
Let’s look at an example that compares the 2017 non-dimensionalized rate to the 2018 dimensionalized rate for a FedEx SmartPost Zone 5 shipment. In 2017, a package weighing nine pounds with a size of 2964 cubic inches would cost a shipper $12.07. Now, with the dimensional weight divisor of 139 factored in that same shipment will be billed for dimensional weight rate of a twenty-two pounds and charged $24.50. This is something for all FedEx SmartPost shippers to be aware of as 2018 approaches.
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