Controlling operational and freight costs is important to the shipper and the freight carrier. The shipper wants to ship their cargo for the lowest price possible while getting the best service, and freight carriers want to deliver items to their customers, but don’t want to do it for free. Shipping anything costs time, materials, and money for everyone involved, and how much you are shipping determines how much it will cost. Freight density is the biggest factor in determining the class of the freight and how much it will cost to ship. Calculating it correctly will get you an accurate price, but figuring it wrong could lead to more charges. Here’s how to calculate freight density, so you can get it right the first time.
Freight density is used to calculate full truckload freight and less-than-load shipping. It measures how heavy a shipment is, relative to its size and volume. The higher the density, the lower the freight classification, and the lower the cost. A shipment with a high density weighs a lot compared to its size, as with a pallet of bricks. A shipment with a low density weighs very little compared to its size, as with a crate of pillows. Trucking companies want shipments with a low density and a lower freight class because it takes less fuel to move it yet takes up a lot of space on the trailer. Of course, they will take anything you want to move, but lower density means less cost for them.
First, determine the volume by measuring the height, width, and depth of the load. If the load contains multiple pallets, measure them all and add them together. Multiply the three measurements to figure out the total cubic inches of each piece, then add them all together. This will give you the total cubic inches for the entire load. Take that number and divide it by 1.728, which is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot. The result is the total cubic feet in the shipment. Weigh each piece in the load and add them together. Divide the total weight of the shipment by the volume, or total cubic feet. Now you have the total pounds per cubic foot, or the density. Calculating freight density is straight forward and necessary for shipping anything around the world.
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