Frequently Asked Questions: Dimensional Weight Changes and Packaging Resources

Why is proper packaging important?

 

Recent e-commerce shipping trends have led to a decrease in package density. The average package weight compared to its exterior dimensions is declining, which is inefficient and costly for small businesses. Dimensional weight pricing methods will encourage businesses everywhere to optimize their packaging practices.

As an industry leader in sustainable transportation practices, FedEx has the resources and solutions to provide you with efficient packaging options.

Packing properly can boost your bottom line.

Many businesses use a few standard box sizes for all shipments without realizing the impact of dimensional weight on their shipping costs. FedEx can help you analyze your typical shipments and determine the right variety of box sizes necessary to protect your products without wasted dimensional weight. 

Read these Frequently Asked Questions to find out how dimensional weight can affect your business, and how you can maximize profits with proper packaging.

Dimensional weight FAQs

What is dimensional weight?

Dimensional weight reflects package density, which is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. All FedEx Express® and FedEx Ground® shipments within the U.S., U.S. import-rated international shipments, and U.S. export shipments are subject to dimensional weight rating.

Billable weight is the weight used to calculate your rate. For domestic and international services, the billable weight will either be the dimensional weight or the actual weight of your package (whichever number is greater). Calculations of dimensional weight are subject to change without notice.

See the FedEx Service Guide for more details on dimensional weight.

How is dimensional weight calculated?

Dimensional weight is calculated based on the length, height, and width of the package. The dimensional weight becomes the billable weight when the dimensional weight of your package exceeds its actual weight.

Follow these easy steps to calculate dimensional weight:

  1. Calculate the cubic size of your package in inches. Multiply the length by width by height of your package. Round each measurement to the nearest whole inch. The resulting total is the cubic size of your package.
  2. Determine actual weight. Use any standard scale to determine the actual weight of your package. Increase any fraction to the next whole pound.
  3. Determine dimensional weight. Divide the cubic size of your package in inches by 139. Increase any fraction to the next whole pound. 
  4. Determine billable weight. Compare the package's actual weight to its dimensional weight. The larger of the two weights is the billable weight and should be used to calculate the rate.
  5. For multiple-package shipments, total the billable weight of all packages in the shipment.

Why are the rates on my invoice different from my rate quotes? 

There are a number of reasons why the rates on your invoice may be different from your rate quotes. For example, the service type or the amount of information entered may differ. Another possible answer is that the package dimensions were not included in the estimate, but the package dimensions do affect the actual shipping cost.

For offline devices like FedEx Ship Manager® Server and FedEx Ship Manager® Software, the most common answer is that the automation device has not downloaded the most recent rate file.

For online devices like FedEx Web Services and fedex.com it’s possible that the entered order weight was different from the actual. 

For further clarification please contact Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.

Who should I contact to help me enter dimensions into my automation solution?

For a more accurate rate quote on your automation solution, ensure that you have entered your package dimensions. If you are using a FedEx® Compatible provider for your integration, please contact the provider directly. If you are not using a Compatible Provider, you may contact your internal IT development team or contact Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.

For more information on FedEx rates, click here.

Packaging FAQs

What can I do to optimize my packaging?

Evaluate your packaging to ensure that you are using the appropriate size boxes for your product. You can also explore other options beyond corrugated boxes. For example, using padded or poly mailers may suit your needs and decrease unnecessary dimensional weight.

Contact your FedEx representative to better understand the impact packaging can have on your business. We can help you improve packaging efficiency and reduce costs.

What packaging resources does FedEx offer?

We have tips, guides, videos, and supplies to help you pack like a pro. Just go to fedex.com/packaging to learn more. You can also ask our pros for assistance with packaging design and testing, including guidance on printing your own shipping labels.

What services are offered at the FedEx Package Testing and Design Lab?

The pros at the state-of-the-art FedEx Package Testing and Design Lab offer free package testing, design, and engineering information services for a wide variety of products. Plus, you benefit from the dedicated support of our nationwide team of field packaging engineers.

We offer package testing and design for:

  • Parcel
  • Air freight
  • Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight

Can a FedEx Office team member pack my shipment for me?

Yes. If being a packaging expert isn’t your thing, you don’t have supplies on hand, or you’re pressed for time, you can let a team member at your local FedEx Office pack and send your shipment for you. Go to fedex.com/locate to find a location near you.  Packaging fees apply. 

Does FedEx offer any carbon-neutral shipping options?

Yes. Through FedEx carbon-neutral envelope shipping, every FedEx® Envelope delivery is carbon offset to minimize its impact on the environment — at no extra charge to you. It’s all part of EarthSmart, FedEx solutions for a sustainable world.

Read our article to learn how right-sizing your packaging can save you money.

 

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