Air freight: why are some goods charged by volume and others by weight?

We know that cotton of the same weight is much larger! Goods such as cotton and sponges are light in weight, but they take up a lot of space. If they still charge according to their actual weight, the air transport company will face the risk of bankruptcy.

Air space is fixed, so the charge for air freight is bound to be based on the weight of the cargo.

What does the airline charge?

The airline charges the freight according to the chargeable weight. To understand what is billable weight, the first step is to understand what is volumetric weight. After the volume weight is calculated according to a certain conversion coefficient (the actual volume of the goods ×167), the volume weight is compared with the actual weight to select the major measure. This is the basic charge standard for air transportation.

For example, for a cargo of 1 cubic meter, its volume weight is equal to 1 cubic meter ×167, or 167KG, while the actual weight is only 100KG. However, when the cargo is transported by air, 167KG will be charged to the airline. If the actual weight of the goods of 1 cubic meter is 200KG or even more, then the charge will be made based on the actual weight, which is called “option charge”.

What are the common measurement methods in air transportation?

Actual weight:

A-W or AW, Actual Weight.

Volume weight:

Volumetric Weight or Dimensions Weight is calculated based on the actual size of the cargo and by a certain coefficient of translation. In air transport, the conversion system is generally 1:167, or 1 cubic meter (CBM) approximately equal to 167KG. (the volume and weight are also calculated according to the length (cm) × width (cm) × height (cm) ÷5000, which is not common. Generally, only express companies use this algorithm.)

Charged weight:

The Chargeable Weight, C.W. for short, just as its name implies, Chargeable Weight is used to calculate the Weight of the freight, Chargeable Weight is either actual gross Weight, Weight or volume.


Goods weighing less than 1 kg per 6000 cubic centimeters or less than 1 pound per 366 cubic inches or less than 1 pound per 166 cubic inches. The bill weight is its volume weight.

You can keep this in mind, because the airline needs to take out cargo or heavy cargo to fit the cabin, to balance the cabin weight to meet the take-off standard. If your goods are very bubble or very heavy, you can find the master in the transport to the airline for a more favorable rates.