Difference between Volume Weight and Skid Shipping | FlagShip Canada

Posted by Aritetsoma

Skid Shipping is a viable option for businesses that need to transport bulky and heavy items with high value. In this blog post, we are going to figure out the difference between actual weight and volume weight and show you how you can use that information to estimate your skid shipping costs.

Let us explain the basics of skid shipping costs

Skid shipping costs are based on the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight. Actual weight is the physical weight of the shipment, while volumetric weight is a measurement of the space the shipment occupies. For example, if you have a shipment that weighs 500 pounds but takes up 100 cubic feet of space, your skid shipping cost would be based on the volume weight of 1000 pounds.

The reason skid shipping costs are based on volume weight is that carriers charge for shipments based on how much space they take up in their trucks. A shipment that weighs 500 pounds but takes up 100 cubic feet of space will take up twice as much room in a truck as a shipment that weighs 500 pounds and takes up 50 cubic feet of space.

How to calculate skid shipping costs

To calculate skid shipping costs, you need to know the dimensions of your shipment (length, width, and height), as well as the carrier’s dimensional factor. A dimensional factor is a number that represents how much space of cargo the shipment takes up in their truck. For example, if the carrier’s dimensional factor is 10 lbs per cubic feet, that means that a 50 cubic feet shipment will be charged for 500 lbs minimum, even if actual weight is lower.

To calculate skid shipping costs, you first need to calculate the volume weight of your shipment by multiplying the length x width x height of your shipment (in inches) and dividing by the carrier’s dimensional factor.

If a crate is 35x35x40 inches weighing 200 lbs:

  • the actual weight is 200 lbs
  • the volume weight will be 284 lbs based on the following formula:
    • length x width x height = X / 1728 *10
    • =35 x 35 x 40 = 49000/1728*10 = 283.56


In the case above, the charge will be based on the 284 lbs.

Of note, if the skid is over 70 inches tall, the formula will calculate the height dimension at 102 inches. This accounts for the space left over between the skid and the roof of the trailer. That space is essentially unusable and gets charged to the oversized skid. A standard size skid is 40x48x48.  Anything outside this may result in extra charges.

Here’s an overhead view of a standard 53-foot truck, that can hold 26 skids of 48x40x48.  Each square represents one spot.  If your crate or skid is outside of these dimensions, such as 48x40x60, the spot beside yours is wasted, resulting in the carrier charging for you for a second spot.



Skids, pallets, and crates are all calculated by dimensions and/or weight, as well as by the number of spots taken up on the transport vehicle.  These all vary depending on the courier, their rates, and their vehicles.

Why are skid shipping costs so important?

Skid shipping costs are so important because they can vary greatly depending on the actual weight of the skid and the volume weight.

For example, a skid that weighs 1000 pounds but only takes up 10 cubic feet of space would have a lower skid shipping cost than a skid that weighs 1000 pounds and takes up 100 cubic feet of space. This is because the latter skid would have a higher volume weight, and thus would be more expensive to ship.

How can skid shipping costs be cut down?

There are several ways to cut down on skid shipping costs:

  1. Minimize the skid/packaging dimensions
  2. Try to respect the standard dimensions of 48x40x48 inches
  3. Ship smaller loads more frequently.
  4. Ship to locations that are closer to the supplier.
  5. Consolidate shipments into one shipment.

To request a quote for an LTL or FTL shipment contact us at dispatch@flagshipcompany.com or give us a call at 1-866-320-8383 to speak directly with a FlagShip logistics expert.