What weight is considered freight? | Citizenshipper

Ulhas Sukhare Ulhas Sukhare · Updated January 16, 2024

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It can be hard to know for sure if what you’re shipping is freight. It can seem subjective whether a package is a parcel or freight but there are certain guidelines to let you know the difference. A key indicator is whether you’re shipping an item or items. Most individual packages you can ship by conventional means, via FedEx or, even better, USPS. But there are exceptions to this: Packages heavier than 150 pounds and bigger than 108 inches in length or 165 inches in length plus girth (2x width + height) are considered freight. But even that rule isn’t universally true.

Not only size and weight, but shape can mean the difference between a parcel and freight. Angular, ungainly or odd-shaped items, such as furniture, may require freight shipping as they can be refused or charged highly by conventional mail services. 

Lastly, a package is generally considered freight if it is shipped on a pallet. As for deciding if your item or items merit a pallet, that is largely up to you. But many items can be stored together on one pallet, making them one item which might be less expensive to ship.

The most trustworthy way of knowing whether your package should be considered freight is to measure it. The more accurate your measurements, the better the guarantee of your shipment’s safety and timeliness. This is a vital step, so make sure you abide by the advice below when it comes to measuring your package or packages.

Measuring your item/s

Freight is measured by:

  • Cube
  • Space
  • Density

Freight transporters are mostly concerned with how much of an area the package takes up. This counts for more than weight when it comes to cost. In order to keep your shipping costs low, you may benefit from being creative about how you stack your items if you are shipping more than one.

The key concept is tessellation. Try to keep a minimum of empty space per unit. Tetris players will have an advantage during this stage!

Now that you have your items in shipping condition, loaded onto a pallet or combined into one unit, it’s time to measure them. Accuracy is vital at this point. The more accurate you can be when describing the measurements of your shipment, the easier it is for the freight transporter to guarantee a safe and fast transit with no extra fees.

Measurements should be taken from the extreme points of each axis. So height should be measured from the base of the item (or base of the pallet) to the very highest point of the unit. The same goes for width. If you are using a pallet, know that a standard US pallet size is 40” by 48”. If any of your items poke out beyond the 40” by 48” of the pallet, measure width from these points.

As mentioned about, you should be measuring height, width and length. These figures will help you calculate Cube and Space, but for Density you will also need to weigh the item/s, pallet and all.

To measure irregularly-shaped items, treat them as if they were standard oblongs. The height is the distance from the lowest point to the highest, even if the height is not uniform for the shape. The same applied to width and length.

Use a tape measure to find out the height, length and width in inches. Multiply those numbers by each other (h x w x l) for the cubic dimension. For multiple items, do this calculation for each one they add them together.

Divide the total cubic inches by 1,728 to get the cubic feet of your shipment.

Finally you want to find out the density, or weight to volume ratio. Weigh your finalised and packed item or items, then divide the weight by the cubic feet.

For help with any of these measurements, use a dimension calculator.

Remember to put all this information on the packing label along with all other details about our item or items.

How to choose a shipper for your freight

Considerations to do with whether your shipment constitutes freight can be answered by a reputable shipping service. Peace of mind comes from trusting in the transporter’s expertise. Therefore it can wise to choose a service that is easy to get in contact with, and share any questions or concerns you might have.

That’s one advantage of using CitizenShipper. Another is the competition of our online marketplace keeping shipping costs to a minimum. 

Post your shipment free of cost today and wait for the quotes to roll in. Choose the driver you want: the driver with the best quote and the most experience. Then prepare your cargo, negotiate terms and relax: The driver will handle it from here. Size and shape no object!