How is LCL Shipping Priced?
Whereas airfreight is very weight-focused, ships are able to handle almost any load. Thus the most important cost factor is how much volume they can accommodate. This means that LCL rates are based on a system that takes package measurements into account and converts then into a density figure: it is the Weight or Measurement rule (WM). The higher of the weight, or the measure calculation, applies.
Shippers work around cubic metre measurements (cbm). You will be charged for a minimum 1 cbm under LCL rules even if you have a very small shipment. There are 33 cbm in a 20 foot container and 66 in a 40 foot container.
Converting cbm into what is known as chargeable shipping volume is done using standard conversions set by shippers: these vary so that some may work on 1 cbm = 500kg, others may work on up to 1000 kg (check with your LCL freight forwarder). If the actual weight is lower than this, then the chargeable shipping volume applies: if the weight is higher, there is a penalty because the weight applies.
In the USA different measures apply and they use 45 lb. per US cubic foot.