Decoding Hundredweight: A Comprehensive Guide for the Parcel Industry

Today, we’re diving into a key concept in the parcel industry that is crucial to understanding and managing your shipping costs – the hundredweight (CWT) pricing system. This post will explain what hundredweight is, how it affects your shipping rates, and how you can use this knowledge to optimize your shipping strategy.

What is Hundredweight (CWT)?

Hundredweight, abbreviated as CWT, is a unit of weight measurement used in the shipping industry to calculate freight rates. It’s equivalent to 100 pounds (45.36 kg) in the United States and Canada, and 112 pounds (50.80 kg) in the United Kingdom. The CWT pricing system is widely used by carriers to charge for bulk shipments or parcels that weigh more than a certain threshold, typically around 50-200 lbs.

How Does Hundredweight Pricing Work?

In the parcel industry, carriers use dimensional weight and actual weight to determine the cost of shipping a package. However, when it comes to shipping multiple packages or bulk shipments, carriers often employ the hundredweight pricing system to simplify the process and offer discounted rates.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how the CWT pricing system works:

  1. Determine the total weight of your shipment: Add up the weight of all the packages in your shipment.
  2. Convert the total weight to hundredweight: Divide the total weight (in pounds) by 100 and round up to the nearest whole number.
  3. Find the CWT rate: Consult your carrier’s rate chart or contract to find the CWT rate for your shipment’s origin, destination, and service level.
  4. Calculate the shipping cost: Multiply the CWT rate by the number of hundredweights in your shipment.

The Benefits of Hundredweight Pricing

Hundredweight pricing offers several advantages over conventional parcel pricing:

  1. Cost savings: CWT pricing can result in lower shipping costs for heavy or bulk shipments, as carriers often provide discounted rates for large shipments.
  2. Simplified billing: By consolidating multiple packages into a single CWT shipment, you can streamline your billing process and reduce administrative overhead.
  3. Enhanced predictability: With a clear understanding of the CWT pricing system, you can more accurately forecast your shipping expenses and make informed decisions about your shipping strategy.

Tips for Optimizing Your Shipping Strategy with Hundredweight Pricing

Now that you understand the basics of hundredweight pricing, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  1. Consolidate shipments: Whenever possible, consolidate multiple packages into a single shipment to take advantage of CWT pricing.
  2. Negotiate rates: If you’re a high-volume shipper, negotiate CWT rates with your carrier to secure better discounts and save on shipping costs.
  3. Monitor weight thresholds: Keep track of your carrier’s weight thresholds for CWT pricing and adjust your shipping strategy accordingly to maximize cost savings.
  4. Choose the right carrier: Different carriers offer varying CWT rates and weight thresholds, so compare your options to find the best fit for your shipping needs.


Hundredweight pricing is an essential concept to understand for anyone looking to optimize their shipping strategy in the parcel industry. By leveraging the CWT pricing system, you can secure better shipping rates, simplify your billing process, and enhance the predictability of your shipping expenses. Keep the tips mentioned above in mind as you navigate the world of parcel shipping and harness the power of hundredweight pricing to your advantage.

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