For years, freight companies at various points in the delivery chain and senders have been passing around a “hot potato”.

The rules for calculating freight charges have been around for decades: Clients pay for the volume weight or the actual weight of the goods, whichever is greater. The sender declares the dimensions of the parcel (Length, Width, Height) and weight.

Knowing that 75 per cent of shipped parcels and palletised goods should be charged by volume weight, it becomes clear that this “inconsistency” in freight charges is of critical importance to companies.

Not all goods are charged based on the parcel rules. For example, palletised goods are charged at a fixed price for each European pallet. But clients have also been very creative in this area, for example, by overlapping the pallet edge by 5 cm all the way around. This leads to major problems when packing vehicles, leading to reduced capacity – who pays for this?

Parcels are often also charged based on weight ranges, such as 0 – 5 kg, 5 – 10 kg, etc. But again, using the volume weight might lead to a one or two class increase. Given the greater international volume of goods traffic, there are more and more links in the chain of delivery, and one of these might perform volume calculations and invoice for the full volume weight.

We then have to hope that the first link in the chain has also charged the sender for the full volume weight.


The problem of common weights and measures was solved back in the Middle Ages for weighing. A “legalised” calculation base was adopted, which in our day is defined using “verified scales”. Such scales MUST be used for measuring purposes. This is covered by legislation – in our global age, in the form of an OIML recommendation.

An equivalent OIML recommendation (R129) has now been adopted for measuring dimensions. It is therefore possible to obtain “verified dimension scanners” – which will solve the problem of hot potatoes.

These dimension scanners automatically measure the Length, Width and Height and weight of the shipment. Thus the volume weight can be calculated along with the weight, and the “chargeable weight” is recorded.

In practice

In practice, goods are passed through a dimension scanner which performs the measurement.

However, there are practical problems in defining the max. Length, Width and Height. If the sides of a box are bulging out, the volume will be greater than its original measurements. Such boxes also take up more room, so it is fair to increase the freight charge.


However, it is unreasonable to view tape and label fragments as an increased box size. Automatic dimension scanners should automatically handle such problems, as the increase in calculated volume can be quite large.



Unique identification

The system also uniquely identifies shipments, by recording the Weight, Length, Width and Height, and takes two pictures.

This information is stored in the system database and can be printed out in the event of a complaint.  This fulfils many of the requirements for certified transport.

Vast revenue increase per volume scanner

Experience has shown that the sender’s declaration is often quite different from reality. It is therefore worthwhile for freight companies to check these declarations. It is not unusual for a single volume scanner to increase revenues by € 800.000 annually.

This means the investment in the scanner is repaid in just 14 days.



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply