CBM Calculation | International Logistics Calculation Formulas

CBM Calculation stands for “Cubic Meter” and is a unit of measurement of the volume of a shipment. This measurement is commonly used in the calculation of international express, air or ocean freight rates. CBM Calculation involves many aspects such as full utilization of space, billing, security and so on. Whether it is an airplane, a ship or a truck, his loading space is limited, relatively speaking is the volume and weight is limited requirements.

  • If the goods can be loaded into the container, there are 2 kinds:FCL, LCL.
  • If it is FCL container, then the CBM of your goods is not very important;
  • If it is LCL, then the money you have to pay is directly related to the CBM.


CBM calculation


Here’s more on calculating transportation costs:

China Shipping Cost Calculator

CBM calculation weight billing

When goods are shipped in containers, LCLs or otherwise, both the volume (CBM) and the actual weight of the goods may affect the calculation of freight charges. In some cases, if the volumetric weight of a shipment (i.e., the theoretical weight based on volume) exceeds the actual weight, then freight charges may be calculated based on the volumetric weight.

The formula for CBM calculation

Length (m) x Width (m) x Height (m) = ? CBM

If you don’t want to just read these text interpretations, you can click on the video below to help you understand more quickly about CBM calculation:


Ocean LCL Freight:

The CBM Calculation method may be different according to different shipping companies, different forwarders, different ports or different warehouses.

There are several common ones:

  • 1CBM=1000KG: If the actual volume is 0.8CBM, and the actual gross weight is 1200kg, then the freight rate = 1200/1000*rate.
  • 1CBM=750KG: If the actual volume is 0.8CBM ◇Actual gross weight is 1200kg ◇The freight rate = 1200/750*rate.
  • 1CBM=500KG: If the actual volume is 0.8CBM and the actual gross weight is 1200kg, then the freight charge = 1200/500*rate.
  • 1CBM=363KG: If the actual volume is 0.8CBM and the actual gross weight is 1200kg, then the freight charge is 1200/363*rate.

Ocean freight CMB calculation

Ocean freight CMB calculation (LCL) is generally billed by volume, with heavy cargo converted to volume and then billed. For ocean freight pricing, one ton or 1000KG is equivalent to 1 cubic meter.


ocean bill of lading


Air freight CMB calculation

The standard formula used for airfreight is Length (cm ) x Width (cm ) x Height (cm ) ÷ 6000 = Volumetric Weight (KG ) / 1CBM ≈ 166.6666KG. Any calculations for airfreight will use this conversion so it’s worth noting this rule of thumb: 167KG = 1 cubic meter.

If the volume of a shipment is heavier than the actual weight, it is called a light, blistering shipment. If a shipment is volumetrically heavier than its actual weight, it is called a heavy shipment.

Cargo volume weight VS actual weight, which is heavy according to which billing, such as plastic products, cotton, sponges and other large volume of small weight of the goods, the volume weight billing.

CBM calculation for Containers

When estimating how much product can fit in a 20-foot or 40-foot ocean container, you also need to know the volume of your shipment. It’s not a simple arithmetic formula comparing total shipments to the maximum capacity of a container. It’s impossible to use every bit of space in every container. There will always be some unused space in a container, but carriers can maximize capacity by accommodating as much as possible.

The amount of unusable space depends on the size and shape of the items being loaded, their packaging, and how the items are stored. With this in mind, you can use the table below to roughly estimate how much product can fit in the four most common sizes of shipping containers (20′, 40′, 40′ HC and 45′ HC).

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