How to calculate girth and length of a package using the parcel dimensions

When shipping a parcel, there are restrictions on the 'Maximum Girth' of the package you are sending. This is the combined length and girth of the package. Depending on the courier service you choose, the Maximum Girth allowed will be different.

This is to ensure that your parcel is not too large for the sorting machines, conveyor belts and courier vans that process your shipment. Because you are choosing from a wide variety of couriers through ParcelCompare, you have the ability to choose the service that works best for you - once you know how big your parcel is, you can pick a service that will carry your parcel, whatever the size.

Remember, each side of your parcel is a 'dimension'. Your package has three - the length, the width and the height. The longest side is always considered the length of your parcel.

Calculate the length & girth of your parcel

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To get the length and girth of your package, there are just a few steps to follow:

  1. Measure the dimensions of your parcel in centimetres.
  2. Add the two smallest dimensions together. Multiply the result by two. This is the girth of your package.
  3. Take the longest dimension and add to the package girth. The result is the combined length and girth of your parcel.

Here's an example of these sums in action:

  1. 50 cm (Length) x 40 cm (Width) x 30 cm (Height).
  2. 40 cm (Width) + 30 cm (Height) = 70 cm. 70 cm x 2 = 140 cm (Girth).
  3. 50 cm (Length) + 140 cm (Girth) = 190 cm (Combined Length and Girth)

Why is the parcel girth measurement important?

Each courier has different restrictions on the size of the packages that they accept. DPD, DHL and FedEx, for example, all have different accepted sizes. TNT takes packages that are significantly larger than UPS or DPD, while DPD has stronger restrictions than many other companies.

Knowing your dimensions is vital, as it limits the chances that you might fall afoul of additional surcharges, as many couriers apply additional charges for exceeding their normal restrictions. Exceeding a length and girth of 330cm when shipping with UPS will garner a surcharge of around £30. 

When you get a quote from ParcelCompare, you should only see delivery options from services that are available for your package's dimensions. If there are applicable surcharges, we will let you know now, so you don't get any nasty surprises. That's why it is so important to enter dimensions that are as accurate as possible.

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