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The Importance of CBM in Sea Freight Shipping: Calculating Volume and Reducing Costs

When it comes to sea freight shipping, weight isn't the only factor that matters. The volume of a shipment is also important to consider, and that's where the concept of CBM comes in. In this article, we'll explain what CBM is, how it's calculated, and why it's important to consider when calculating sea freight shipping costs.

What is CBM?

CBM stands for "cubic meter," and it's a measure of volume. Specifically, it refers to the volume of goods that can fit inside a space that measures one meter by one meter by one meter. This is important because sea freight carriers typically charge by the cubic meter, not just by weight.

How is CBM calculated?

Calculating CBM is relatively straightforward. First, you'll need to measure the length, width, and height of your shipment in meters. Then, you'll multiply those three numbers together to get the total volume in cubic meters. For example, if your shipment measures 2 meters long, 1 meter wide, and 1 meter high, the total volume would be 2 x 1 x 1 = 2 cubic meters.

Why is CBM important in sea freight shipping?

The reason CBM is important in sea freight shipping is that carriers use it to determine the cost of shipping your goods. While carriers do take weight into account, they also consider the volume of your shipment. This is because, for example, a shipment of pillows may be very light but take up a lot of space, while a shipment of steel bars may be very heavy but take up very little space.

By charging based on both weight and volume, carriers can ensure that they are fairly compensated for the space that your goods take up on their vessels. This is important for carriers to remain profitable and for shippers to have access to reliable sea freight services.

Considerations for CBM in sea freight shipping

When planning your sea freight shipment, it's important to consider the CBM of your goods. This can help you to get an accurate estimate of the shipping cost and can also help you to optimize your shipment to save money.

For example, if you have a small shipment that takes up a lot of space, you may be able to consolidate it with another shipper's shipment to fill a container more efficiently. This can help you to save money on shipping costs by sharing the space and cost of the container.

Additionally, it's important to consider the packaging and how it affects the CBM of your shipment. Bulky or irregularly shaped packaging can take up more space than necessary, increasing your shipping costs. Using packaging that is appropriately sized for your goods can help you to optimize your shipment and reduce costs.


CBM is an important concept to consider in sea freight shipping. By understanding how CBM is calculated and why it's important, shippers can make informed decisions about their shipments and optimize them for cost and efficiency. Working with a trusted and experienced sea freight forwarder can also help shippers to navigate the complexities of sea freight shipping and get the best rates and service possible.

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The Importance of CBM in Sea Freight Shipping: Calculating Volume and Reducing Costs
The Importance of CBM in Sea Freight Shipping: Calculating Volume and Reducing Costs


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