The full form of CBM is Cubic Meters. It is one of the most predominantly used units of measurement of cargo transports globally. CBM measures the volume of the shipment being sent by air freight or ocean freight, which ultimately decides the freight cost of the shipment. CBM measurement is a vital process of transporting shipments and air cargo since the overall transportation cost depends heavily on it.
Determining the right container size for your consignment helps you move your goods and manage your freight costs more effectively. For this, it’s pertinent to know how many CBM you can store in a container.
Calculating the CBM for your product is very easy. Just pack it neatly into a cubical/cuboidal box to map the dimensions accurately. Once done, measure the box’s length, width and height in meters. If you have taken measurements in a unit other than meters, it’s advisable to convert it first and then proceed to calculate the CBM. When you have all the three measurements, multiply them and you’ll get the CBM value of your package.
The formula to calculate CBM would go as follows:-
The calculation of CBM with this formula only takes into account the dimensions or volume of your shipment. But what if the package you want to ship is too light or too heavy. Shipping companies use the concept of CBM Chargeable Weight which also factors in the importance of weight of the shipment while arriving at the freight cost.
While shipping goods, it often happens that a relatively light package takes up much more space than a heavier yet a smaller one. Hence, if the shipping company levies the charges on both the packages based on their actual weight, the bigger yet lighter package would not be profitable to ship, since it occupies more space and weighs little.
To be able to solve this problem, companies use the concept of CBM chargeable weight. To understand chargeable weight, we first have to understand the following terms:
Actual Weight: Actual weight is the gross weight of the package that is to be shipped.
Dimensional/ Volumetric Weight: Once the CBM value of the package is known, multiply it with the Dimensional Weight Factor, or “DIM factor” based on the mode of transportation, to get the Dimensional or Volumetric Weight of the package.
The highest value between the two is taken into account by the company to charge the shipment. This method is known as the chargeable weight.
Ocean freight shipping companies have prioritised the space taken up by an LCL shipment in a container over the weight of the shipment. For calculating CBM for LCL shipments sent via ocean freight, the estimation factor for calculating the volumetric weight is generally 1:1000 -- one cubic meter is equal to about 1000 kilograms.
Assume that the freight forwarder has given you a quote of $15 per CBM or ton. And the DIM factor which is generally used for sea freight as 1:1000. There are two different situations which can arise, both of them have been explained below:-
Since the weight is less than 1 ton and CBM is greater than weight of the shipment hence it will be considered as the basis for calculation of freight cost. Freight Cost = 125*15 = $1875
Since weight of the shipment exceeds 1 ton and CBM value is less than the weight of the shipment hence weight will be considered as the basis for calculation of freight cost. Freight Cost = 7*15 = $105
In an air shipment the CBM calculation remains the same, but the freight is charged on gross weight or volume weight (after multiplying CBM by DIM factor) -- whichever is higher. The DIM factor generally used in Air freight is 1:6000, or divide 1 CBM (if dimensions are measured in meters) by 0.006 to get volume weight in KGs.
Volume weight is important for calculating air freight, as lighter shipments consuming more space cannot be charged a lower amount as compared to someone who is sending a heavier shipment. Both actual weight and volume weight when taken into account help in accurate pricing for air shipments.
For example, If the dimensions of a package are 2m length, 2m height, and 2m width while its gross weight is 500kgs. And the freight forwarder has given you a quote of $1.5 per Volume weight or Gross weight whichever is higher. CBM = 222 = 8 CBM Volume weight for an air cargo = 8/0.006 = 1333.33 KGs
Volume Weight > Gross Weight, hence volume weight will be considered for calculating air freight cost, i.e 1.5*1333 = $1999.5
Generally, one needs to calculate the CBM of the consignment as well as the container. Standard containers are generally available in 3 sizes- 20ft, 40ft, and 45ft and the dimensions for the variants are as follows:
The fashion industry is one of the most frequent users of both air as well as ocean freight routes to transport raw materials, equipment, and final products across the world. While exporting garments, companies pack them up in cartons that are smartly designed not to take up a lot of space, and easily stacked on top of each other.
Once the garments are packed in standard cartons, calculating their CBM becomes very easy. Just putting the accurate measures of all the dimensions in the below formula would give you the total CBM for your package.
Length of the carton (m) X Breadth of the carton (m) X Height of the carton (m) X Number of cartons in the package = Total CBM of the package
Considering an assumption, kg (of mass) to CBM (of volume) - the SI derived unit for volume is the cubic meter.
Note: Rounding errors may occur, so always check the results according to your apt figures.
1 inch is 0.0254 meters. So if the individual measurement of your package is in inches, make sure you multiply each one of them with 0.0254, and then proceed to calculate the CBM.
However, if you have already measured your package in terms of cubic inches, no need to go back and convert the individual dimensions again. Just use the formula given below to convert cubic inches to cubic meters.
Pallets are the small wooden platforms upon which packages are stacked up inside the containers so that the goods suffer from no damage during their movement.
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