How CBM is calculated in Shipping?

CBM calculation in shipping is essential to determine how many packages can fit in a container. CBM (Cubic Meter) is a method for the calculation of the chargeable and dimensional weight of goods. In addition, CBM calculation in shipping is further required to request for a freight quote. Hence, it can be stated that CBM is the freight volume calculated for domestic and global shipments. A shipper may calculate the measurement of CBM by simply multiplying the length, width, and height of the shipment.

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CBM Calculation in Shipping

CBM calculation in shipping is a straightforward method. In order to calculate, an individual is required to pack the goods in a cubical or cuboids box. Next, the length, width, and height of the box should be measured in meters. It is important to note that the only unit that can be applied to measure, should be in meters only. If another unit has been taken for the CBM calculation in shipping, it is advisable to convert that unit into meters to proceed towards CBM calculation in shipping. Upon taking the three measurements of the box, the shipper can get the CBM value by simply multiplying the three measurements simultaneously.

For example:

Length of the box = X meter

Width of the box = Y meter

Height of the box = Z meter

Then the CBM calculation in shipping could be accomplished by doing X meter multiplied by Y meter multiplied by Z meter = XYZ CBM.

CBM calculation in shipping for Other Shapes

A shipper may not consistently find a shipment in a cube or cuboids shape. The load could be of any size. There are different types of sizes available for a product. It could be in irregular or a cylindrical shape. Let us see the method for CBM calculation in shipping for different approaches.

CBM calculation in shipping for cube or cuboids

As mentioned earlier, calculating CBM in shipping for a cube or cuboids is the easiest. The shipper may accomplish it by simply multiplying the length, width, and height of the box.

CBM calculation in shipping for a cylindrical box

In order to measure a cylindrical box, the package should stand upright, and one of its circular sides should face at the top while the other should be at the bottom. Next, one should measure the height and radius of the container. Now the CBM for a cylindrical box could be calculated by using this formula: CBM = π X height X height.

The value of π could be taken as 3.14

CBM calculation in shipping for irregular packages

The CBM calculation for varying packages could be done by multiplying the longest length, the longest width, and the longest height of the box.

Case Study for CBM Calculation in Shipping

Mr. X is a freight forwarder who works as a mediator to export the goods of his clients from one nation to another. He is a new comer in the field of shipment and asking for advice in order to calculate the CBM for a cubic box. In addition, he got his first consignment of 30 boxes of the same size for the shipment. How can he accomplish his task?

Mr. X needs to measure the height, width, and length of one cubic box since all the boxes are of same size. He measured the height as 6 meters, length as 5 meters, and width as 2 meters. Now, he is required to simply multiply the measurement by 30 times.

For example: 30 (6x5x2) = CBM

The total CBM after calculation would be 1800.


CBM calculation requires time to measure the exact volume of the container. However, for a shipper, the marine insurance premium calculation is equally essential to avoid the risks of damages to the containers or any other potential risks such as pirates, etc. In order to prevent these risks, a shipper may consider buying cargo insurance online.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 01 May 2023
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