Know Your Dimensional Weight – 2019 Updates

EchoData Reduces Shipping Costs with Proven Strategies

Several years ago UPS and FedEx began rating Ground packages on the dimensional weight of the shipment, now it is commonplace for all carriers. This method of determining weight reflects the overall package density, which is the amount of the space a package uses relative to its actual weight.

Dimensional Considerations By Carrier


  • Determine the package dimensions in inches. For each dimension, measure at the longest point, rounding each measurement to the nearest whole number (for example, 1.00 to 1.49 will be considered 1, and 1.50 to 1.99 will be considered 2).
  • Multiply the package length by the width by the height. The result is the cubic size in inches.
  • For domestic, divide the cubic size in inches by 166 to determine dimensional weight in pounds. Increase any fraction to the next whole pound. Note:  EchoData’s discounted rates across large volumes includes a significantly improved DIM factor of 225 instead of the published factor of 166.  This saves our customer’s money on shipments where a DIM factor is present.
  • For International shipments, the calculation is the same.
  • Once complete, compare the package’s actual weight to its dimensional weight. The greater of the two is the billable weight and should be used to calculate the rate.
  • For multiple-package shipments, total the billable weight of all packages in the shipment.

UPS / FedEx Calculator:

Dimensional Weight Calculation

USPS: (domestic parcel)

DIM weight is determined by multiplying a package’s length, width, and height and applying a volumetric divisor. UPS and FedEx use 166 as the divisor for domestic packages, while USPS uses 194 (which improves upon similar shipments vs. the others).

USPS only charges dimensional weight for Priority Mail parcel shipments which exceed 1 cubic foot (12 x 12 x 12) and shipped to zones 5-9.  There are also no dimensional weight charges when an item in zones 1-4 is less than 84″ in girth (i.e. L + 2x width + 2x height).

DHL (domestic parcel):

DHL uses a Length + Girth calculation with a maximum package size of 50″.  The calculation for DHL, similar to USPS, is (L + 2x width + 2x height).

Broad Impact of Dimensional Pricing

While it’s difficult to determine the exact monetary impact, industry experts have made predictions of $500 million to $1 billion dollar increase in annual shipping rates. Costs have increased an average of 20 to 30 percent for more than 70 percent of all ground shipments.

How EchoData Tackles DIM Charges

Many companies face pressure to reduce shipping costs without incurring additional overhead costs in the areas of labor, product and technology. As an experienced fulfillment provider, EchoData deploys numerous strategies to reduce its clients shipping rates.

Don’t Get Boxed In

Because DIM pricing is largely dependent on the size of the parcel relative to its weight, EchoData offers to evaluate our customers’ current packaging to determine where DIM may be affecting cost. Since volume is a key driver of DIM weight, EchoData works with clients in the following areas:

  • Replace unnecessary boxes with padded mailers, particularly for small items
  • Evaluate current packaging and identify correct sized boxes for clients’ shipments
  • Consult on alternatives such as lighter but stronger boxes, reducing the need for packing materials, which add space and cost
  • Carrier optimization for better decision making based on weight class, destination and delivery date

The EchoData Advantage

With our ability to maximize carrier relationships, employ advanced technology and optimize packaging strategies, EchoData can offer your business a competitive advantage and lower your costs. If you are in the market for an experienced, scalable fulfillment partner contact EchoData to discuss your business objectives. We’ve been supporting the needs of the fulfillment and supply chain industry since 1983. Visit us at or give us a call at 800.511.3870.

Posted February 24, 2016

Updated 1/24/2019