Cubage: understand how the calculation is done – Trusted Movers – Get an Instant Online Quote

Cubage: understand how the calculation is done


Cargo cubing is important in assessing whether the value of the cargo is in line with the storage capacity of the vehicle, thus avoiding the occurrence of significant losses for carriers.

It is made from simple calculations and is used to determine whether the freight cost complies with the loading volume or with the vehicle storage capacity. In a basic detail, it is possible to see whether it is advantageous or not to carry out a certain transport of goods.

Thanks to cubing, everyone wins: the carriers, who avoid losses; and customers, who will pay a fair price for shipping. When the company does optimizes freight management appropriately, the consumer pays a price that does not reflect the reality of the service he needs.

When thinking about the transport service strategically, the shipper has all the conditions to offer freight services with fairer values and also ensure greater efficiency in the management of resources.

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What is cargo cubage?

To understand the concept of load cubing, it is important consider the relationship between the weight of the commodity and the space it occupies, both in the cargo vehicle and in the storage area. The load cubage is the calculation of this ratio, which is done using what we call cubing factor. It represents the formula established to achieve the weight and volume of the most suitable cargo for transport.

For example: consider that a freight transport company must send two consignments to neighboring regions. One of the lots contains 30 tonnes of rice, the other 30 tonnes of wool. The 30 tonnes of rice occupy a smaller volume in the transport vehicle compared to the 30 tonnes of wool. On the other hand, you have to think of a vehicle that can support 30 tons, or divide the load into smaller vehicles. Although rice occupies less volume, it requires a vehicle suitable for the type of transport, since it is housed in containers. Wool, on the other hand, can be easily packaged in boxes, making it easier to adapt to the vehicle.

As a viable solution, the company can define a type of mixed transport, without extrapolating the weight limit that the vehicle can support. The cubage of carga lets you calculate the best way to do it.

Read also: Calculate shipping costs: how to get the best price?

How is the load cubing done?

O standard calculation To find the load cubage, consider the height, width and length of the vehicle and the load, in addition to the cubage factor:

length X height X width X cubing factor

Let’s understand how it works in practice:

A lorry truck with the following characteristics is being evaluated to transport a load of mattresses, consisting of 100 units weighing 8 kg each.

load cubage

To calculate cubage, which is measured in m3, we calculate height x width x length or depth.

How many kg per m³ can the truck transport?

8,000 kg capacity ÷ 46.87 m³ of space = 170.70 kg per m³

What is the size of the mattress?

0.2 x 0.8 x 1.88 = 0.3 m³

What is the volume of the mattress multiplied by the total amount?

0.3 m³ x 100 = 30 m³

Calculation of cubic weight:

170.70 kg (truck capacity) x 30 m³ (cargo cubage) = 5,121 kg.

From the results, we can see that the cubic capacity of the truck is larger than that of the load, which means that it has the capacity to carry more mattresses than the 100 units. The weight of the cargo is also less than the capacity of the truck, and valuing the freight from the original weight does not pay for the carrier.

As the capacity of the truck supports up to 5,121 kg of freight volume, the freight should be billed on the cubic weight because the original weight of 800 kg is less.

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Standard cubic factor

To save carriers from having to calculate the displacement of each of their vehicles, the National Association of Cargo Transport and Logistics – NTC has defined a standard cubic factor. Thus, for road freight transport, the default is 300 kg / m³.

Theoretically, for every cubic meter of transport vehicle capacity, it is possible to transport 300 kg. If the load is over the limit, it is important to carry out split or mixed transport. If the load is indivisible, the vehicle must support a cubic weight value greater than the established standard.

Split loads

Regarding the transport of split loads, it is in practice very difficult or even impossible to pack 300kg per m³ in a vehicle. Even if the load has a low volume, there will still be empty spaces which must also be taken into account when calculating the cubage. Therefore, it is considered average cubing density 200 kg / m³.

net charges

In liquid fillers, it is necessary to consider the actual density of the product to establish the correct sizing of the tanks. In this way, it is possible to define the circulation mode optimizing the capacity of the tanks. In addition, the stability of the vehicle increases and it is not necessary to apply the cubing factor.

In situations where the vehicle must carry a load with lower density, it is necessary to apply the cubing factor for the appropriate correction of freight charges. Another alternative is to negotiate the value of the price per trip, which does not take into account the density or weight of the cargo. It can also be applied to rate per m³, which is obtained by dividing the cost of each trip by the volume capacity of the vehicle, disregarding the weight capacity.

Read also: Delivery logistics: learn how to optimize the process

Difference between volume, cubage and cubic weight

As they are used in relation to load cubage, the terms volume, cubic weight and cubic weight can be confused. O volume it is the result obtained by the multiplication of the dimensions of the object, it is a physical concept which helps in the execution of calculations.

THE cubage it is an operation obtained in the same way as the volume, but its meaning is different. It is applied in logistics and refers to the space occupied by the units or the density of the product in relation to the interior of the vehicle. Thus, it is possible to avoid an imbalance between the size of the loads and the space available for their transport.

Finally, the cubic weight it is the calculation which takes into account the load volume and the storage capacity of the vehicle. It helps carriers make transportation costs more appropriate to the fair value of the service. In very large and light loads, the truck’s space would be occupied quickly, but with much less weight than it can actually carry. Cubic weight balances this condition, so that the carrier does not lose.

How does cubing interfere with shipping costs?

THE cubing is an efficient way to ensure that the value of freight is not less than profitability and does not generate losses for carriers. Calculating freight based on the original weight of the cargo will not always cover all the costs of the transport operation and cubing is the most viable solution for these situations.

In this way, transport companies can establish the ideal planning for the disposal of products on trucks, optimizing logistics and reducing maintenance costs. The calculation of the cubage is fundamental for the gain in efficiency and quality of transporters.

Optimize your operations with the Shipping Center

Cargo cubing is a factor that requires the attention of transport companies, as it can represent a greater efficiency in logistics management. Transport planning is also streamlined, with the application of cubic weight calculation for the best match between freight price and vehicle storage capacity. It is important that the shipper is aware of variables involved in load cubing, you will therefore have a more strategic vision for decision-making.

The Shipping Center offers a full platform to save time and money in transporting your cargo. Thanks to technology, we offer the control and management of cargo with all the security your business needs. Come visit the Expedition Center and find out how your cargo can go further with a better financial return!


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