Understanding Dim Factors

Parcel carriers utilize dim factors to determine the dimensional weight of a shipment. The dim factor is the divisor utilized in determining the dimensional weight. Dimensional weight is determined by multiplying the length x width x height of the package, or pallet, and dividing by the dim factor. Parcel carriers invoice based on the greater of the actual weight or the dimensional weight. (Freight forwarders also use dimensional weight for air and time definite services.)

There are different dim factors for domestic and international shipments. In 2011, both FedEx and UPS reduced the standard dim factors. Domestic shipments used to have a dim factor of 194, but it is now 166. International shipments used to have a dim factor of 166, but it is now 139.

Not sure how the dim factor plays a role? Let’s evaluate. Let’s say you ship a 20x20x20 domestic package weighing 25 pounds; the dimensional weight based on a 194 dim factor was 42 pounds. Since the shipment is invoiced at the greater of the actual weight or the dimensional weight, and the dimensional weight was larger, you would have been invoiced based on a package weight of 42 pounds. However, now that the dim factor is 166, the dimensional weight would calculate at 49 pounds, which is almost double the actual weight of the package.

So, what does this mean to you? Do you have any options to reduce the application or effect of a dim factor? You will need to read a future post to find out!