Pounds Per Cubic Feet (PCF)


Pounds Per Cubic Feet (PCF) Definition

While most countries worldwide use the metric system of units, the United States uses its own unique system, Pounds Per Cubic Feet (PCF). The system is grounded on the ancient British Imperial System, which involves pounds and inches.

PCF and Freight Density Calculation

Freight density is the measure of your freight compactness used to determine your freight class and the ultimate shipping rates. Usually, density is expressed in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Here are the steps followed when determining your freight density:

Measure your cargo height, width, and depth in inches.

Multiply the three readings to get your freight's total cubic inches. If you are shipping several pieces of items, be sure to multiply the dimensions for each individually. Add the results together to get the shipments total cubic inches.Divide the total results with 1728 to get your cargo's cubic feet.

Determine your cargo's weight in pounds and divide it by its total cubic feet to get its PCF.


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How to Calculate Freight Density

For example, assuming your freight weighs 600 pounds with dimensions of 44x52x52 inches:

Multiply the dimensions: 44"X52"X52" to get 118976"

Divide 118975 by 1728 = 69 cubic feet

Divide your cargo weight (600 pounds) with 69 cubic feet to get 8.6 PCF which is also your freight density.

Classification of Pounds Per Cubic Feet (PCF)

  • When your freight density is less than 1 lb. -class 400
  • When the freight density between 1 to 2 lb.- class 300
  • Your freight PCF falls between 2 and 4 lb.- class 250
  • Your freight density is equal to 4lb. but less than 6 lb.- class 175
  • Your cargo PCF exceeds 6 lb. but is less than 8 lb.- class 125
  • Freight density is between 8 to 10 lb.- class 100
  • Freight density between 10 to 12 lb.- class 92.5
  • Freight density between 12 lb. to 15 lb.- class 85
  • Freight density exceeds 15 but is less than 22.5- class 70
  • Freight density between 22.5 lb. to 30 lb.- class 65
  • 30 lb. and beyond- class 60
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