A Step-By-Step Guide to Calculating Pallet Shipping Costs

Friday, September 22, 2023


Pallet freight offers several advantages to both the customer and the carrier. A palletized shipment provides strength and extra protection for the products while allowing carriers to transport and store your goods efficiently.

Most carriers use a standardized pricing model with dimensions (length, width, height) and weight to determine shipping costs. Properly packing your shipment will also condense its volume, helping it fall into a cheaper freight class.

Size and Weight

A pallet is a flat structural foundation that goods are loaded onto and secured for shipping. Pallets help to reduce handling and transportation costs, maximize trailer space, and prevent freight damage. The size of a pallet depends on the type and weight of the items being shipped, as well as how often it will be used. Wooden pallets are the most common, but plastic and metal options exist. When choosing a pallet, consider the weight and dimensions of your freight, as these will impact shipping costs. Many carriers use dimensional weight rather than actual weight to calculate pricing. To determine a pallet’s dimensional weight, multiply its length by its width by its height. Then, divide that number by 139 to find the cubic inches of your shipment. To avoid being hit with unexpected fees, measure and record the dimensions of your freight accurately. Whether you’re measuring manually or using a pallet dimensioner, this will help to ensure compliance with carrier guidelines and accurate freight invoicing. Another way to minimize your shipping costs is by distributing the weight evenly on the pallet. For instance, placing heavier items at the bottom and lighter ones on top can improve stability during transit and handling. It can also improve efficiency and safety for the transportation company and those who load and unload your pallets.

Freight Class

Generally, shipping items on pallets is more cost-effective than transporting them in loose containers. That’s because it takes up less space and reduces the risk of damaged items in transit. However, the type of items you ship will also affect how much they’ll cost to transport. This is especially true if they are bulky or require specialized handling, such as chemicals and hazardous materials. The freight class of a pallet is another factor that can increase or decrease its shipping costs. To calculate freight shipping costs, freight carriers determine the freight class of your shipment by analyzing its dimensions, weight, density, lane balances, travel distance, and fuel costs. They will then apply a tariff based on this information. This tariff will vary between different carriers, so it’s essential to understand the factors that affect freight class before you start shopping around. To calculate the freight class of your shipment, start by measuring its height, width, and length in inches. Be sure to include any packaging. Then, multiply these measurements to find the total cubic inches of your shipment. Finally, divide this number by 1,728 to convert the cubic inches to cubic feet. The higher the freight class, the more your shipment will cost. To avoid high shipping costs, make sure your shipment is adequately stacked and packaged. This means that the heaviest items should be on the bottom and that there are no protrusions that can damage other cargo.


CBM, or cubic meter volume, is the measurement used to determine the freight volume of your shipment. It is calculated by multiplying the width, height, and length of your package together. CBM is often required when requesting a freight quote and plays a significant role in determining your shipping costs. Understanding how to calculate cbm for a pallet can save you time and money by avoiding overpaying for your freight. Most shipments are shipped on wooden bases known as pallets. These are then loaded into containers or lorries for transport to their final destination. Its length, width, and height determine the CBM of a pallet. A standard-size pallet is 80 cm x 40 cm and can be stacked up to 72 inches high. If you have a non-standard-sized package, you must calculate the CBM of your cargo using the formula length x width x height. The height plays a lesser role in calculating the CBM of a shipment because most packing materials are rectangular. Once you have the cubic meter measurement of your shipment, you can find the dimensional weight by dividing the cubic size by 139. This is the weight your shipment will be charged for air and ocean freight. This is different from the actual weight which your shipment will be charged for because it takes into account the size of your packaging and not its contents.


Shipping items on pallets reduces handling costs and improves efficiency. It is also safer for the freight and its handlers. However, many shippers don’t understand how their pallets contribute to freight costs. Pallets can be made from wood, plastic, metal, or paper. They are a staple for most shipping operations as they can be stacked securely to maximize trailer space and reduce transportation costs. When choosing a pallet, it’s essential to consider the dimensions and weight of the shipment. For example, imagine you are preparing to ship a pallet of flat-screen televisions. Each television will weigh 30 to 35 pounds, and the overall shipment will weigh 750 ft3.

Then, you’ll have to factor in your pallets’ size and weight. Since most shipping carriers use a base rate per 100 pounds, the ft3 will be multiplied by the carrier’s standard freight class, determining the total cost for the shipment.

To calculate the pallets’ density, measure each one’s length, width, and height. Then, multiply those measurements to find the total volume of your shipment in cubic inches. Finally, divide this number by 1,728 (cubic inches in a cubic foot) to find the shipment’s density. Remember to round any fractions to the nearest whole number. This will help you accurately estimate your freight class and prevent surprises.

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