Calculate Your Cubic Meter Volume

If you aren’t accurately tracking your freight volume when shipping, you’re probably paying too much. CBM for shipping allows you to pay for cargo by the volume it takes up.

Luckily, there’s a free tool that you can use to calculate the volume. If your shipping ocean freight, our calculator will help you choose the correct size container for your shipment.

CBM Calculator

Volume Calculator

1 cbm

Calculate Your Shipment´s CBM Volume

To calculate your shipment’s CBM measurement, you need to multiply three things: width, height, and length. The resulting number is the cubic volume that fits in your shipment.

Follow these four easy steps to find the CBM of your shipment

  1. Decide on the measurement unit, either centimeters or inches.
  2. Enter the measurements for your box, pallet, or package into the calculator.
  3. Confirm the calculator matches the unit of measurement you used.
  4. The resulting number displayed is the cubic volume of your shipment.

If you have multiple items in your shipment, run each item’s measurements through the calculator. Then add up the resulting numbers for your total shipment volume.

What if your item is round?

Many carriers will square the circle. To do this, the diameter of the circle becomes the width and height. Otherwise, you’ll need to multiply the radius by Pi, then by 2, and then by the length.

Container Loadability - Choose the Right Shipping Container


Now that you have your shipment volume, you can choose the right container. This isn’t a simple volume comparison. The rule of thumb is to assume that just over 80% full is maximum capacity. The final container used will define the freight cost. If you need deeper information abour container types, you can click here.

The usable space of a container depends on the size and shape of your items.

Container Type Length Width Height Capacity Maximum
20' 589 cm 234 cm 238 cm 26-26 CBM 33 CBM
40' 1200 cm 234 cm 238 cm 56-58 CBM 66 CBM
40' HC(High Cube) 1200 cm 234 cm 269 cm 60-68 CBM 72 CBM
45' HC(High Cube) 1251 cm 245 cm 269 cm 72-78 CBM 86 CBM

If your freight has a volume under 15 CBM, then you should use LCL as the most cost-effective option.

More Help About Shipping Your Cargo...

Importing From Asia In 2022

Discover how to import or export from/to China, India or Vietnam and avoid delays on your cargo. Includes Incoterms and documents.

asia eBook
Klaus Lydsal

"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"

Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers