The transport offers, both national and international, are based for the correct calculation of costs, on the “weight / volume” ratio to obtain the taxable weight. The tool that allows to obtain the right allocation of a freight is the so-called “ratio”.

Let’s start from a very simple principle to better understand the case: a truck complete with hay (very voluminous) weighs a few tons, compared to the overall capacity of the vehicle (24t). In a case like this, the real weight of the goods would not guarantee payment of the costs incurred for transport.

So how do we understand what the correct tariff is in a similar case?

A semi-trailer with a capacity of 24,000 kg has a cargo volume of approx. 80 m3, a platform of 13.60 meters in length and the availability to stow 34 pallets (80×120 cm) or 32.64 m2 (1 EUR pallet has an area of just under 1m2).


The calculation is as follows:

24’000 (kg):80 (m3)=300 kg (1 m3 = 300 kg)

24’000 (kg):13.6(m) = 1764 kg (1m of platform = 1764 kg )

24’000 (kg):34 (pal.) =705 kg (1 m2 or 1 pal. EUR = 705 kg)


However, there are some offers that have a different ratio than mentioned, such as, for example, 1m3 = 200 kg. Quotations of this type may seem interesting but, often hide – for the reasons mentioned above – obviously more expensive rates. Other cases, however, where the m2 or pallet ratio is not applied: this often happens to the disadvantage of the customer to whom the freight is invoiced.

Why pay for 7 linear meters when, analyzing the shipment in detail, they would actually occupy 6 linear meters? with the saving of a meter that would not be exploited.

In this case the rate per m2 or pallet is more congenial. It must be said, for the avoidance of doubt, that the more ratio reported in the offer, the greater (in the sense of savings) the benefit for the customer will be.

An example of load optimization with taxable weight per square meter, more advantageous than pricing per meter of floor since there are unused lateral loading spaces (load optimization software of Franzosini SA)

For the so-called “out of gauge” packages, i.e. goods that do not present homogeneity and standards from the point of view of packaging, the “linear meters” are mentioned in the offers. These are based on the very simple principle that the space occupied by a given consignment is compared to the maximum length occupied.

It may happen, however, that actually the package has a length such as to generate a linear meter tariff, but its width and weight can allow you to load other goods positioned next to it. All with a view to optimizing shipments and consequently saving the customer. Also in this case it is more appropriate to apply the tariff per square meter (m2).

For the sake of completeness of information, however, we must reiterate that, sometimes, packages may have exceptions, due for example to weight or shape, which must necessarily be positioned at an equal distance on the vehicle to ensure safety during transport (linear meter tariff).

In the complex world of shipping, everything has its own precise logic between what is transported and the volumetric weight generated. For this reason, the ratios must have a proportionality between them, where an m3 has a coefficient proportionate to m2, respectively to the linear meter; all compared to the maximum weight allowed by the vehicle (as in the example mentioned above).

Through the m2 or pallet tariff, or how much is actually the space occupied on a vehicle, you can get more targeted taxable weight counts and the savings are tangible compared to a tout-court rate per meter of floor.

Another matter, however, if you are in the presence of loose cartons that can be superimposed on each other, where the ratio to m3 would be more competitive.

Last but not least, the offers based on the real weight (without ratio therefore) that present risks both for the supplier, who would be forced to increase the price in the short term, and for the customer who could pay too high a freight when the rate is taxed on the real weight.

Knowing the “ratio” it is possible to better understand the various cases of the freight rates generated.

Ask for information and updates on your rates to one of our specialists, we will be happy to advise you at best!

An example of load optimization that has exceptions, due for example to weight or shape, with a taxable weight ratio calculated per meter of floor and / or per dedicated vehicle (load optimization software of Franzosini SA)

Ratio calculation

An example of load optimization that has exceptions, due for example to weight or shape, with a taxable weight ratio calculated per meter of floor and / or per dedicated vehicle (load optimization software of Franzosini SA)