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Understanding the logistics and calculations involved in shipping can be quite intricate. One of the critical aspects in determining the cost and logistics of shipping is the measurement of the shipment volume, commonly referred to as CBM (Cubic Meter).

This unit of volume measurement is vital for shipping companies as it helps in selecting the appropriate container and accurately calculating the shipping costs.

In this guide, we will delve into the concept of CBM, its importance in the shipping industry, and the methods used to calculate it. We’ll explore how to measure the volumetric weight of a shipment, the different sizes and capacities of shipping containers, and the distinctions between Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) shipments. By understanding these concepts, you will be better equipped to manage your shipping needs efficiently and cost-effectively.

Let’s begin with the basics:

What is CBM?


CBM, or Cubic Meter, is a unit of volume measurement used by shipping companies to determine the size of a shipment. The cubic meter is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the shipment. Knowing the CBM of your shipment helps in selecting the appropriate container for shipping via sea or air.


Method of Calculating CBM:


The volumetric weight of a shipment is calculated by multiplying the CBM by the volumetric weight unit, which is typically 166.67 kg per cubic meter. This means that as the volume of the shipment increases, its volumetric weight increases, impacting the shipping cost. Therefore, it is crucial to calculate the volumetric weight accurately to determine the correct shipping cost.


How to Calculate CBM?


To calculate the volumetric weight of a parcel, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the dimensions of the parcel in centimeters (length × width × height).
  2. Calculate the volume of the parcel by multiplying these dimensions.
  3. Divide the volume of the parcel by the volumetric factor specified by shipping companies (5000).
  4. Round the result to the nearest whole number.


Capacity and Size of Shipping Containers:


Shipping containers come in various sizes, each with a specific capacity. Common sizes include:

  • 20-foot container: 33 CBM capacity
  • 40-foot container: 67.3 CBM capacity
  • 40-foot High Cube container: 76 CBM capacity
  • 45-foot High Cube container: 85.7 CBM capacity

The most commonly used containers are the 20-foot and 40-foot sizes, providing ample space for efficiently shipping various types of goods.


FCL and LCL Shipments:

capacity and size السعة والحجم

FCL (Full Container Load) refers to a shipping method where the entire container is dedicated to one supplier’s shipment, utilizing the entire container space. This option is suitable for large shipments and can save time on sorting and be economically beneficial.

LCL (Less than Container Load) refers to a shipping method where shipments from multiple suppliers are consolidated into one container. This option is ideal for small to medium-sized shipments.



In conclusion, understanding CBM (Cubic Meter) and its calculation is crucial for efficient and cost-effective shipping. By accurately measuring the volume of your shipments, you can select the appropriate container size and ensure precise shipping cost estimates. Whether you’re dealing with Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL) shipments, knowing how to calculate CBM helps streamline logistics and optimize your supply chain. By mastering these concepts, you will be better equipped to handle your shipping needs, ensuring timely and economical delivery of goods. UKR Shipping offers integrated logistics services to support your shipping requirements, providing expertise and solutions to minimize costs and maximize efficiency.

The difference between actual weight and volumetric weight is that the actual weight is the true weight of the parcel, while the volumetric weight is the weight calculated based on the parcel’s dimensions. Shipping companies use the larger of the two weights to calculate shipping costs.

We hope this information provides a comprehensive overview of how to calculate CBM and the importance of this concept in sea and air freight. UKR Shipping offers integrated logistics services to ensure the lowest possible shipping costs, making it easier for suppliers to efficiently and effectively ship the quantities they need.

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