Project Description

CBM Calculator

Calculate your shipment’s cubic meter volume with this free CBM calculator

Freight shipment cubic volumes are typically required to get a price quote. Use this CBM calculator to easily calculate freight volume and how many products fit in a shipping (cbm) container.

Freight volume is also critical for calculating dimensional weight, chargeable weight, calculating freight class, or for requesting a freight quote.

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What is CBM and How Do I Calculate CBM?

For domestic and international freight, shipment volume is communicated in cubic meter, or CBM for short. The CBM formula is a simple calculation – it’s the product of the quantity of items * length * width * height). If your shipment has different sized items, simple repeat the formula for each size and add up the volumes.

This free CBM calculator will do the heavy lifting for you. Simply follow these easy steps:

  1. Select the unit of measurement (metric or imperial)
  2. Type in the quantity of units (pallets, boxes or crates) and then the unit’s length, width and height.
  3. The total volume will be displayed in-line.

Need to calculate the CBM of a cylindrical packages? Check with the carrier whether they square the circle (the diameter becomes width and height) or pull our your high-school math formula and multiply the radius of the package by Pi and then again by 2 ( πr2). Then, multiply that number by the length of the package to get volume.

Shipping different sizes? Simply run each size of item through the calculator, write down the total volumes and add them up.

What Is CBM In Shipping Terms?

CBM is simply the volume of your shipment. However, the volume is than used for other important international (courier, air or ocean) freight calculations including:

  •  Dimensional weight (cbm to kg or cft to lbs) – Dimensional weight is a way to create a theoretical number representing bulky but light shipments. For example, a pallet of ping pong bulls would be very light but would take up the same volume on an airplane as a pallet of weights. By calculating the dimensional weight, carriers can determine the…
  • Chargeable weight – Chargeable weight is merely the greater of the dimensional weight (aka size) or weight. In other words, while ocean freight pricing is fairly averse to weight and more focused on size, air freight is much more sensitive so the dimensional weight will usually play a more important role than the actual weight.
  • Freight class –  In the United States, most LTL trucking carriers have also created a theoretical number to compensate truckers for shipping oversized loads. Most products shipped by truck go by simple freight class categories determined by weight. However, CBM can also play a large role in calculating the freight class.

How Many Products Fit In A Container (CBM)?

Knowing your shipment volume is also required when estimating how many products will fit in a 20′ or 40′ ocean shipping container. This time it’s not a simple arithmetic formula of comparing total shipment volume and container maximum capacity, as nearly every time a container is loaded, it’s impossible to use every piece of space.

The amount of unusable space depends on the size and shapes of the items being loaded, on their packaging and also on how the items are stowed. As a rule of thumb, the actual capacity within a container is typically a little over 80% of its maximum capacity.

With that in mind, use the following table to get a general estimate of how many products will fit in the four most common sized shipping containers (20′, 40′, 40′ HC and 45′ HC). This way you can figure out  20ft container CBM,  40 ft container CBM, and other container CBM.

Container TypeLengthWidthHeightCapacityMaximum
20'589 cm234 cm238 cm26-28 CBM33 CBM
40'1200 cm234 cm238 cm56-58 CBM66 CBM
40' HC (High Cube)1200 cm234 cm269 cm60-68 CBM72 CBM
45' HC (High Cube)1251 cm245 cm269 cm72-78 CBM86 CBM

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