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How Package Dimensions Impact Shipping Costs

Shipping Tips & Solutions

How Package Dimensions Impact Shipping Costs

Do you know how package dimensions affect shipping costs? We'll go over everything you need to know in this blog post here.



Key Points:

  • In 2021, there was an incredibly steep increase in global freight rates, reaching a record price of over $10,800

  • Carrier-calculated shipping rates can vary depending on the weight and dimensions of your product

  • According to AFL data, buyers and sellers were more cost-sensitive in 2021 as shipments with standard and basic tracking went up 1202%

According to AFL data, shipments with standard and basic tracking went up 1202% in 2021 because buyers and sellers were more cost-sensitive. With this, merchants have to learn how to deal with package dimensions costs to keep up with consumer demand. Customers must also be aware that additional surcharges depend on the weight of the parcel.

Both eCommerce merchants and consumers want affordable shipping, but retail shipping costs are on the rise. In fact, global freight rates reached a record price of over $10,800 in 2021.

In this blog post, we’ll go over all the necessary things you need to know about packaging dimensions and how AFL can help alleviate rising costs.




Table of Contents

01 3 Reasons Why Package Dimensions Impact Cost 02 How Much Does Shipping a Package Cost? 03 4 Tips for Dealing with Package Dimensions 04 Package Shipping Prices Are Cheaper with AFL


3 Reasons Why Package Dimensions Impact Cost


With understanding package dimensions, let's consider how and why they have such a huge impact on shipping costs.


Dimensional (DIM) weight


Dimensional weight refers to the amount of space a package takes – not its weight. This means your shipment may be light, but then it occupies more space.

A package might be heavy yet consumes less space on the flip side. Therefore, when calculating your DIM weight, use the formula below:


(Package Length x Width x Height) / DIM divisor


First, you need to multiply the package length, width, height. Then, divide that number by the DIM divisor. Every inch matters when it comes to DIM weight, so make sure you choose the proper packaging for your items.


Additional handling surcharges


Dimensions determine additional surcharges. Carriers often charge extra for packages that require additional handling based on their measurements. These charges vary and are based on the length and weight of the package. However, you will be charged additional handling surcharges based on whichever is higher between the weight and dimension.


UPS charges an extra $8.50 charge for shipments that require special handling. Plus, USPS charges $11.15 for additional handling of parcels. So if you’re shipping an item that requires extra handling, it’s important to be aware of these costs.


Oversize package surcharge


As we’ve said, the shipping cost of a package is partly determined by the size of the package. This means shippers should assume that they would pay more if they are shipping an oversized package like a guitar, furniture, or other items like such.


For USPS and UPS, a large package surcharge will be applied to your shipment if your package exceeds the following:


  • USPS: Packages may not be more than 108 inches in total length and girth, and no more than 70 pounds

  • UPS: Packages may not be more than 165 inches in total length and girth, and no more than 150 pounds

United States Postal Service (USPS) charges an additional $100 for packages that exceed the mailable limit. On the other hand, UPS charges between $95 to $115 for large packages over the mailable limit.


Related post: Cheapest Way to Ship a Package for the Holidays


How Much Does Shipping a Package Cost?


Whenever you’re shipping a package, it’s essential to understand the general shipping factors that impact the cost. No matter what, the cost to ship a package depends on the following factors:

  • Courier service

  • Delivery speed

  • Weight of package

  • Shipping distance

  • Package dimensions

This section will consider the costs to ship a package from New York to Los Angeles at various weights.


Shipping with USPS

Below, we calculate the cheapest retail shipping cost by weight for shipping with USPS using the USPS shipping rates calculator.




Shipping with UPS


Below, we calculate the cheapest retail shipping cost by weight for shipping with UPS using the UPS shipping rates calculator.


Courier ServiceWeightCost (Retail pricing)UPS Ground3 pounds$24.98UPS Ground10 pounds$31.08UPS Ground50 pounds$118.69




Shipping with AFL


Instead of paying retail shipping rates, AFL saves users up to 70% off discounted retail shipping costs for over 250+ couriers.


4 Tips for Dealing with Package Dimensions


With rising shipping costs, both merchants must learn to optimize packaging dimensions to avoid unexpected shipping costs.


Use the right-sized packaging


Opting for the right size for your product is the best way to reduce costs whenever you're shipping. Use packages that fit your supplies and this will prevent you from paying extra charges for spaces that you're not using.


Also, consider optimizing your shipping packages by fitting more items into your packages as much as they can occupy. This way, you can potentially avoid spending more on large or oversized packages.


Talk to your courier representative


Whenever you have a question about your package, consider contacting your courier representative. By doing this, merchants can better understand how to create a seamless shipping experience.


Review your invoices


Rates change regularly and it's essential to be in touch with the changes. That’s why you want to review your invoices to ensure shipping rates are up to date and accurate. This will help you avoid unnecessary charges in the future.


Check courier for package limitations


Always check your courier for package dimension limitations before you start shipping away. This way, you can avoid paying unexpected charges.


Package Shipping Prices Are Cheaper with AFL

By now, you should know that package dimensions have a great impact on shipping costs. First, let’s review how package dimensions impact shipping costs:

  • Dimension (DIM) weight

  • Additional handling surcharges

  • Oversize or large package surcharges

Overall, understanding how package dimensions impact cost is essential for merchants to stay up-to-date about paying for shipments.


To help improve rising shipping costs, AFL comes in handy for its high-volume shipping discounts. In addition, AFL offers exclusive features and benefits, such as:

  • AFL Shipping Rates : Access high-volume discounts from 250+ couriers. Plus, get access to the best available shipping rates ranging from ground to express critical services

  • 24/7 Customer Support: Get 24/7 access to our team of shipping experts so you can craft a frictionless shipping experience without shipping delays

  • Global Fulfillment Network: Access our global network of warehouses to help improve transit times, lower shipping costs, and reduce tariff exposure

Before you start shipping away, always make sure you do your research and understand all the required shipping costs for your shipment. This way, merchants can better understand how package dimensions impact shipping costs.



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