How to Calculate Density for LTL Freight Costs    

 

Shippers need to know how to calculate density for LTL freight costs because many carriers use freight density along with actual weight to price LTL shipments. Calculating freight density may sound like a task for a math whiz, but it’s quite simple to do. If you know the weight and dimensions of your freight, you can calculate the density. 

 

Density = Shipment Weight / Total Cubic Feet

 

Below we’ll break down how to calculate the density for LTL freight costs into five easy to follow steps. But first, let’s explore what freight density is and how it’s used in generating shipping rates.

 

What is Freight Density?

 

Freight density measures the weight of a shipment relative to its size. In other words, a shipment with low density will weigh very little compared to the size, while something with high density weighs a lot compared to the size. For example, a pallet of tightly packed bricks will have high density, and a package of Styrofoam peanuts will have low density.

Density LTL shipping Wisconsin

Along with other factors such as handling requirements, fragility, hazardousness, and liability, density is used to identify freight class. The classification is used to determine shipping costs and is included on the Bill of Lading.  

freight density illustrated LTL shipping Wisconsin

5 Steps to Calculate Freight Density

 

Density calculators can help in the calculation of freight density, but it’s always good to know how to figure it out on your own too.

 

Step 1: Measure length, width and height of the packaged freight for each unit/piece in inches.  Measure each dimension at the longest point as this is what the dimensional scanners LTL carriers employ will do when they audit!

 

Step 2: Multiply the three dimensions together to get the total cubic inches.

 

Step 3: Divide total cubic inches from step two by 1,728 (the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot) to get the cubic feet.

 

Step 4: Weigh the shipment.

 

Step 5: Divide the weight by the total cubic feet from step three. The result is your density or pounds per cubic foot.

 

Get Help with Your LTL Shipments from Customodal & DLS Worldwide

 

We offer a full line of brokerage and freight forwarding services including LTL, full truckload, expedite, courier, Air, Ocean, and Intermodal rail. Learn more about us online at Customodal.com or call 800-445-6577. 

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About The Author

Mike Eberl
Mike is Founder and CEO of Customodal. Having a nearly 30 year history owning companies which provided asset-based ground freight, parcel shipping, air freight and charter flight services, Mike harnessed that knowledge into a Top-Tier logistics company when he started Customodal.

To read more about Mike, check out his full bio here.