How to calculate CBM and Freight Ton

One of the most common questions I get asked often is “how to calculate CBM and freight ton”, specially by those clients who get charged per Freight Ton or Revenue Ton..

Firstly CBM stands for CuBic Meter.. This is the most common unit used for the measurement of volumetric cargo.. Metric Tons as you know refers to the weight of cargo (1 Metric Ton = 1000 Kilograms)..

Freight Ton or Revenue Ton is derived by calculating the weight or volume of the cargo and the freight is charged based on whichever is higher..

How to calculate CBM and Freight TonWhen you have the dimensions of the package, first of all convert the measurement into meters..

Normally dimensions are in Length x Width x Height..

If for example the dimensions of a cargo crate is

3.2 x 1.2 x 2.2 meters then the CBM is simply 3.2 x 1.2 x 2.2 = 8.448 CBM..

As mentioned above, if the rate is quoted as for example USD.12/per freight ton and the weight of the package is 1200 kgs = 1.2 tons, then the freight rate for this will be

8.448 cbm x USD.12 = USD.101.376 or

1.2 tons x USD.12 = USD.14.4

Since the CBM rate is higher, the freight rate of USD.101.376 will apply..

For easy conversion of anything to anything – pls refer to

Be part of the discussion and share your views about the article here..

  1. Hi. I would like to know that if i have a consignment consisting of pipes .
    Total 10 line items, 4 line items of larger diameter pipes are kept as loose pieces and 6 line items of small diameter pipes are kept as bundles.

    It has to go via. Break bulk.

    Charges are USD 100 FRT.

    How to calculate the total FRT..

    Will it be calculated for each of the 10 packages separately on the basis of dead weight and CBM whichever is higher… OR for total consignment’s one CBM and one Weight?

    • Dear Than,

      There is no way for you to compare directly weight to measurement because it will vary according to the cargo.

      A quick example to understand this better: imagine 1 ton of steel and 1 ton of styrofoam
      Although you have 1 ton of each material, the steel will not take as much space than the styrofoam.

      Hope it is clear now my friend!


  2. Hi Hariesh,
    Thanks for enriching us with your blogs.
    Kindly enlighten that how is freight calculated or arrived upon on Odd Dimension Cargo.? is it by CBM or by tonnage?

  3. Dear Harieshji, how could we differentiate the freight terms between CIF & FOB and FOB will be better from CIF for an importer to import cargo from china?

  4. where can i get the information about the 0.12 usd rate? does that 0.12 rate include tax, duty for imported and exported goods etc?

  5. Dear All,

    thanks all for sharing good info. here raised a question in my mind that why we divide 61024 to dimension when dimension is in inch. or why why we divide by 1000000 when dimension is in c,m. where as in meter there is no need of any division. actually what is 61024 and 10000. please let me know?

    • Dear Hariesh Manaadiar,
      Hera i m going to answer your question.. what does 61024 stands for?
      Actually 61024 is used to to calculate CBM while dimesions are in inches. first we need top convert inches into meter. in one meter there are 39.3701 inches. so when we calculate cbm while dimensions are in inch that time we mutiply
      39.3701 X 39.3701 X 39.3701 = 61024.
      L = 23” W = 12” H = 8”
      L X W X H / 61024
      23/39.3701 X 12/39.3701 X 8/39.3701
      0.036 CBM
      I think it ll be hlpfl for u

    • We calculate LCL shipments by taking the item or items that you would like to purchase and calculate their given volumes. To do this we first take the length, width, and depth of each piece and add from 1-4 inches to each dimension. We add the 1-4 inches to the size of the pieces to allow for packing and framing. Once we get the total volume of the piece or pieces you are ordering we divide the total volume by 61,024

      We get the 61,024 figure from length 39.37 inches multiplied by width 39.37 inches multiplied by Depth 39.37.

  6. thnks so much abt all inf.above
    Could you pls let me know who can issue SEAWAY bill.
    I used to receive SWB from carrier but never get it from freight forwarder. if so just Carrier can issue SWB? and FWD just issue surrender bill? hope to get your feedback. thnks in advance.

    • Hi Tram,

      depend on Shipping used in that case bcoz of only few shipping lines(CSAV & MOL) are issuing Seaway Bill, but forwarder never issue Seaway Bill they are using express release BL


  7. Dear Herish,

    Many thanks for your g8 help and support for learning about shipping.

    could you please help me in learning of air freight also…………please .?


    sanjeev Dubai.

  8. Hi Hariesh!,

    I would like to know why the shipping lines are charging different rates on demurrage on different occasions, for the same amount of time and same size of container?. Will be of grate help if i can get some light on it.

    • if you moving your shipment on sea freight you should have to equal KG to CBM because that good will stuff to container

  9. Hi I am Manu, working in a freight forwaarding company in Imports Division. The explanation of CBM calculations is highly useful for any one who is in freight forwarding industry. Thank You for your expanations with examples in a simple language.

  10. HI, I am new in the shipping line and wanted to thank you for taking time and effort for keeping a comprehensive below. Its really helpful.

  11. This is helpful to anyone that is new to the shipping sales department or is venturing into that line of work. Sales managers and such should know these formulas . Question, Can you explain how to come up with the stowage factor for a particular hatch, Any size with any tank top weight limit, just use an example. I used to know but have forgotten the formula.

    • Hi Barry, i found this which might be useful..

      Stowage factor is the amount of cubic feet it takes to store one long ton of a given cargo. This is used to calculate how much can be carried in a ship, container, or other space. This factor can vary depending on how the material is packed and stowed. Wax has a lower stowage factor in bags (53 cubic feet per ton) then in barrels (73). This means that it takes 20 less cubic feet to store one ton of wax in bags then in barrels. Stowage factor basically tells you how efficently a meterial is packed.

      The following formula is used to determine the stowage factor of a given cargo:


      f is the stowage factor. 2240 is the amount of pounds in a long ton. v is the volume of one unit of cargo, such as an ingot or bag. w is the weight in pounds of the container.

      Here are the stowage factors of some common items:
      Tires-100 cubic feet per ton
      Coffee-70 in bags
      Oranges-88 in cases, 63 in cartons
      Lead ingots-11

      Source: Marine Cargo Operations by Saurbier and Meurn

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  13. Dave/RS Log…
    How did you come up with the $15 per w/m rate for the inland? My issue is turning the per cwt (or per kg) charge into a per w/m charge.

  14. Here is an example to share :
    1. Normally, LCL ocean freight are charge only base on CBM, however, some cargo are considered to be heavy cargo, hence, the trucking and inland charge will base on R.T. ( reveune ton ). Here is and example :

    Gross Weight : 2500kgs
    CBM : 2 CBM
    POD: NYC
    Destination : Tampa,FL

    Now, normally, we treate 1 cbm=1000kgs, hence, for 2500kg of cargo, it will be treated as 2.5cbm, so, the ocean freight from Xiamen to New York will be = $ 67 x 2.5 cbm = $ 167.50
    And, for inland calculation, we normally use 1 cbm = 363kgs, hence, for 2500 kgs of cargo, it will be treated as ( 2500/363 ) 6.89 R.T. so the inland part will be charged as $ 15 x 6.89 R.T. = 103.35
    So, the total freight charges from port to Tampa, FL is = $ 270.85

    Please never use $ 67 + $ 15 = $ 82 per cbm x 2 cbm = $ 164.00, this way you will be under sell and loose money.

    Davis / RS Log

    • I need more example like to choose which one is higher. if dimension weight (kg). Is it included to charge other processing at the port?

  15. there’s an other wording instead of “per freight ton” “per W/M” it means per weight (= ton) or measurement (= cbm) which is higher at the advantage of the carrier.

  16. I want to send three 75 tons of engine to Tamatave Madagascar from India. I can delivered this engines at any Indian port. Please find me suaitable shippers at lowest price.

  17. thanks for your help you are doing very interesthing and great things
    best regards vartan jinbashian

  18. i want to know the computation of each freight charges for three invoices with
    different supplier & different total amount which loaded in one container. the
    total freight charges is 40,500 USD.

  19. how big the size 1 CBM in length x width x high. does look different with meter and centimeter? thank you.

    • Hi Noel, CBM is the cubic meter which is the unit of measurement of the volume.. RT = Revenue Ton which is the freight rate calculated basis rate per ton or cbm whichever is higher.. Example if the freight is Usd.15/RT and the cargo weighs 10 tons and measures 12 cbm, then the freight charged would be Usd.15 x 12 cbm.. Trust this is clear..

  20. now i understand…..till date im just wondering how sale manager calculation frieght charges.

    thank you so much

  21. what if my freight forwarder provides a rate only per cbm. Is there any calculation to convert weight to cbm

  22. so do i need to measure every single box if different sizes? then how to take average? please advise. thanks in advance.

  23. HI,

    please assist,if i what to carry 2 tons of woven bags whose length,width and height is 57,25,50CM and the shipper quote 450 usd./CBM + DOC USD. 22/SET