Difference between the various weights used in shipping

There are various weights used in shipping on a day to day basis.. Why are there so many weights and what do they mean..

I have explained some of the most common below:

Net Weight – (when referring to a cargo) is the total weight of just the raw cargo (say for example – Peppadews)

Gross Weight – (when referring to a cargo) is the total weight of the raw cargo (example – Peppadews) + the weight of bottles or cans that it is packed in.. If the bottles and cans are further packed into cartons which are placed on a pallet, then the weight of the peppadews + bottles + cartons + pallets = gross weight

Net Weight – (when referring to a container) is the total weight (gross as above) of the cargo after it has been packed into a container – but excluding the tare weight of the container

Gross Weight – (when referring to a container) is the total weight of the cargo + the tare weight of the container



Tare Weight – is the weight of the empty container (for general internal dimensions and tare weight refer to https://shippingandfreightresource.com/2009/02/17/container-sizes-and-dimensions-all-types/

Payload – is the maximum cargo weight that a container can carry and excludes the tare weight of the container.. Containers have CSC plates that reflect the payload that the container is allowed to carry..

Deadweight (DWT) – refers to the weight that a ship can safely carry – this includes the weight of the cargo on board the ship, the crew, stores, fuel, water, ballast etc.. If the total weight exceeds the DWT certified by the ship builder, then the ship could be in danger of sinking or damage..

Gross Tonnage (GT) – refers to a ships overall internal volume including crew accommodation, machinery, navigation equipment etc ..

Net Tonnage (NT) – refers to a ships GT minus the the space used up by the crew accommodation, machinery, navigation equipment etc – basically the space that is available for the carriage of passengers and cargo..


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15 comments on “Difference between the various weights used in shipping”

  1. Pingback: Day of the Seafarer 2017 and why #seafarersmatter - Shipping and Freight Resource

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  3. By MJ Reply

    Hi Thanks for the info..However, legal weight was not mentioned. What is its difference? Thanks!

  4. By Carlos Reply

    I am agree but when you issue the bill of lading of fcl the GW of the cargo is separated of the tare.

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