Carton properties
cu ft
Cargo properties
Total volume
cu ft
Total weight
Volumetric weight
20′ Standard Dry Container
Number of cartons

This CBM calculator for shipping is a simple tool that helps you determine the volume and weight of your consignment. It can also help you plan your transport: all you have to do is input the dimensions and weight of the cube you're shipping, and our calculator will tell you how many cartons of this size will fit in a standard container.

You can use our calculator straight away, or read on to learn how to calculate CBM. Once you're done, make sure to check out the freight class calculator, too!

What is CBM?

CBM stands for cubic meters. It is a metric unit of volume that describes how much space your consignment takes. If you want to recalculate it to imperial units, use the following equation:

1 CBM = 1 m³ = 35.3147 cu ft

Don't worry about recalculating the units, though. You can easily change them in the container volume calculator. Centimeters, inches, or feet? They're all there. You may also compare various measures of volume, both metric and imperial, using our great volume conversion calculator.

How to calculate CBM?

Calculating CBM for one carton is extremely easy. All you have to do is multiply all the dimensions of your box (length, width, and height):

CBM = length * width * height

Make sure that all of these values are in the same units! When in doubt, use our length conversion calculator.

Once you know the CBM of a single carton, you can easily find the total volume of your consignment. All you have to do is multiply this value by the quantity of cartons:

total volume = CBM * quantity

Total weight vs. volumetric weight

If you decide to input the weight of a single carton, our CBM calculator for shipping will automatically return two additional values: the total weight and volumetric weight of your cargo. What is the difference between the two?

Total weight describes how much your cargo weighs. You can obtain this value by multiplying the weight of a single box by the quantity of cartons in a consignment.

Volumetric weight, on the other hand, is an artificial measure of how much space the shipped item occupies. Imagine the following situation: you are traveling on a plane, and take incredibly light luggage with you. In that case, you will be charged not for the weight, but rather for the volume of the item.

You can calculate volumetric weight of the consignment according to the following formula:

volumetric weight (kg) = length (cm) * width (cm) * height (cm) * quantity / 5000

When estimating the shipment cost, many companies choose either total or volumetric weight, depending on which one is higher. Both FedEx and UPS apply this pricing technique. Items of low density will typically be charged per kilogram of volumetric weight.

Also known as dimensional weight, volumetric weight, typically favors shippers of heavy, dense goods, and makes it more costly to dispatch lightweight but sizable packages.

How to use our shipping cube calculator: an example

  1. Determine the dimensions of one shipping cube in your consignment. Let's assume it's 50 cm long, 80 cm wide and 60 cm high.

  2. Weigh one carton. Let's say it weighs 35 kg.

  3. Decide on how many boxes you want to ship. For example, your shipment can consist of 20 boxes of identical shape and weight.

  4. Calculate the CBM:

CBM = 50 * 80 * 60 = 0.24 m³

  1. Calculate the total volume of your consignment:

total volume = 0.24 * 20 = 4.8 m³

  1. Calculate the total and volumetric weight of your shipment:

total weight = 35 * 20 = 700 kg

volumetric weight (kg) = 50 * 80 * 60 * 20 / 5000 = 960 kg

The total weight is lower than the volumetric weight, so you can expect to be charged according to the latter.

  1. Finally, choose the type of a container you'd like to ship your cargo in - for example, a 40′ Standard Dry Container. Our CBM calculator for shipping will automatically tell you how many boxes of such dimensions you can fit in it - in this case, 277.

Please note that the maximum number of cartons that fit in a chosen container is just an approximation. It is possible that due to the arrangement of packages in the container, some space will be left unusable, what will decrease the total number of boxes that fit into it.

Our calculator can determine the shipping limit of the following containers:

  • 20′ Standard Dry Container: capacity 1165 cu ft
  • 40′ Standard Dry Container: capacity 2350 cu ft
  • 40′ High Cube Dry Container: capacity 2694 cu ft
  • 45′ High Cube Dry Container: capacity 3043 cu ft
Bogna Haponiuk

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CBM Calculator for Shipping