TRADE CBM CALCULATION, Tricks & How It’s Calculated


Trade CBM calculation

It’s understood the phrase ‘trade CBM calculation’ is something known to many, precisely shippers of less container than load (LCL) and full container load respectively. Most often, these unique figures are determined in different ways, which is based on the nature or type of goods that are to be shipped with the aid of a container, or even as general cargo.

CBM calculation is predominantly deployed for these types of trade categories, however, for less container than load cargoes, this method of calculation is ultimately deployed based on the fact that every single shipment consists of multiple consignees, with a minimum of two (2). However, if a shipper or freight forwarder is to ship a full container load (FCL) shipment, the shipper is meant to abide by the standard weight required for a container according to its dimension, without exceeding the required maximum weight.

Meanwhile, it’s important to state here that our core area of discussion will be centered on the CBM determination for a single freight irrespective of how it is packaged. It is very important for a shipper to take the right step and as well, offer the best advice as a specialist in this sphere. A dry van container is considered most appropriate and widely used for shipping less than container load trade, which is dependent on the volume or dimension of the cargo to be shipped through a specific distance, often as 40ft or 20ft container.

And for the subject acronym, “CBM”, it will be necessary to analyze and demonstrate its meaning and how it is determined. With that said, CBM implies ‘cubic meter‘, which is determined from the dimension of the freight to be shipped. This is determined by the product of the length, width, and height (length x width x height). But in practice, there are some trade CBM that cannot be determined through this method, such goods are determined via their weight (for example: equipment made of steel or iron foil), which attracts special charges. Owing to the fact that the total weight of trade is not expected to exceed 1 ton (1000kg).

Our subject discussion, trade CBM calculation is an important area for all shippers (freight forwarders), as well as other shipping-related companies, most importantly the LCL cargo consolidators and general cargo. But if the cargo is shipped as a full container load, comprising of one consignee, the trade tariff will be billed as full container load yet the total cubic meter of that trade will in no doubt be determined.

In order to focus more on our core area of interest (CBM calculation), we will skip the detailed explanation of less than container load (LCL) as a single post when we’re ready to discuss cargo consolidation.

Meanwhile, if a trade is placed on a pallet, case, or box, depending on its packaging. The trade CBM calculation can be obtained from a shipment dimension as follows;

Length x width x height = the figure in CBM (Note: its measurement must be in meters).

For example, if the dimension of a ‘cargo’ is

Height = 2.5 meters,    Length = 4.1 meters and Width = 1.8 meters

However, the trade CBM is calculated as

Length x width x height = CBM

4.1m x 1.8m x 2.5m = 18.45 CBM

But if the cargo is measured in centimeters or inches, you have to convert its measurement to meters first, before one can obtain the CBM of the cargo.

However, if the freight forwarder of the above, gave a quote of USD 20.00 per CBM, hence, the rate can be obtained as

Total CBM x USD

18.45 x 20.00 = USD 369.

Furthermore, if the weight of the cargo is 8 tons, which means 8000kgs. It implies that the subject shipment shipped as LCL will be obtained from the cargo weight.

That is,

8 tons x USD 20.00 = USD 160.00

NOTE: In practice, it’s advisable to deploy any method that offers a higher CBM for obvious reasons.

  • I hope you found this article on trade CBM calculation, helpful!