Dimensional Specific Troubleshooting


When dealing with Dimensional Shipping there are many variables that can affect how rates are calculated. Ultimately you will need to look at the logs from the extension and the Carrier to work out issues and refine the configuration to suit your needs.  We have a unique Logger which is installed on all our extensions that can assist you, and we encourage you to read the documentation and view the screencast on how to set this up. If you come in for support we will more often than not asked you to check the logs first.

No Dimensional Rates for UPS

Please check to ensure you have UPS XML rates enabled. You cannot send packages in to UPS if you are using ‘CGI’ rates. You can see this setting in Shipping Methods, in general if you haven’t entered a XML developer key then you won’t get dimensional rates.

No Dimensional Rates

Dimensional rates will not be returned by the carrier if there are no dimensions assigned to the product(s) in the cart.

Check to ensure that all of the boxes that have been defined have dimensions greater than zero. Also, even if not being used, ensure that there are no boxes with zero dimensions in the “Ship via many box rules” (AKA: “Multiple Shipping Boxes”) or “Ship via 1 box rules” (AKA: “Individual Shipping Boxes”) tabs.

Rates are being Doubled or Allowed Methods are Missing

If you see an issue where the rates look like they are double what they should be, but the packed boxes is set correctly then please ensure you have the carrier setting under Shipping Methods Packages Request Type set to Divide to equal weight (if present – this has removed by the extension in 2014). If you don’t then you will see this issue as the Magento packing logic is interfering with the Dimensional Shipping extension.

The above can also apply to live rates’ methods being missing. For example, “Ground” only appears when multiple “Allowed Methods” are selected.

If the rates are still being doubled or the option is not present, check for the quantity of boxes sent to the carrier, as detailed below.

Negotiated Rates are not being used

Often this is seen as rates returning at almost double the expected rate.

Dimensional Shipping adds extra configuration parameters to live carriers. This can be found in System > Configuration > Shipping Methods > (Carrier Name) under the heading “WebShopApps Specific Configuration”. Here you will find the “Rate Request Type”.

When set to “Account” your negotiated rates will be used; when set to “List” the standard list rates will be used instead.

Retrieving logs to view how extension packed boxes

In Dimensional Shipping we log out the packages that are created for the items in the cart. To view these you need to enable the logs and set logging to Info.

In the logs search for “Packages set to Carrier”.

The following image shows an example of the expected log output.



You can see here that the dimensions and weight are specified, if there were multiple packages you would see that indicated with dimensions/weight for each.

Identifying Rate Discrepancies

When using dimensional shipping in many cases the items actual weight and dimensional weight will vary significantly.This may cause receiving quotes that appear inflate when compared to the carriers quote estimator tools. The shippers use this as way of balancing the shipping price for large items with low weight.

The actual algorithm for working out dimensional weight will very between carriers I will be using FedEx as an example for the purposes of this article.

In this case an item weighing 3lbs has a dimensional weight of 5lbs. The algorithm that FedEx use in this instance is L x W x H / 139.


The calculator can be found http://www.fedex.com/gb/tools/dimweight.html

Based on the list rates at the time of writing the quote for a 3lbs package shipped from Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY would be 35.64 USD for FedEx 2Day. Using the dimensional calculation with the package size of 8x8x10 inches the same item would get a higher but more accurate rate of  40.57 USD for FedEx 2Day.

The rates will vary more if an item of the same weight is shipped in a larger the box.

Identifying Issues with Carriers That Seem Related to the Extension

Sometimes you may have an issue such as a carrier not displaying or a specific shipping method not showing. In this scenario we recommend you switch off the extension itself and ensure first that you can get rates normally for an item that will fit in a small package (i.e. < 150lbs for UPS). If you can’t then it points to a site specific issue. If you can’t get rates then please view the carrier specific logs. These can be switched on with the Debug switch under Shipping Methods and are found in var/log. The most common issue we see is authentication issues because of invalid credentials.

If you see rates when the extension is off but not when the extension is on then you need to take a look at the carrier logs again and determine if the carrier/method is actually returning a rate. The 2 most common issues we see are:

1) The carrier is not returning a rate for that particular method (i.e. its not supported for the details passed in)

2) The allowed method does not have the desired shipping method set

Low-Weight Methods not Displayed

Low-weight methods, such as USPS First Class require decimal places to return rates correctly. If you have “Round weight to next whole number” set to “Yes” in the Dimensional Shipping settings or “Use Ceiling weight” set to “Yes” in the “WebShopApps Specific Configuration” in the shipping methods’ carrier configuration section: system > configuration > shipping methods > (carrier name).

Cart Does Not Load When Large Quantities Are Used

This is a limitation of the carrier’s API. The carrier cannot handle 50 or more boxes in a single request for UPS and 200 for FedEx. The limit is 25 packages for USPS.

The quantity limitations will be advised by the carrier’s API response, which can be viewed in the carrier logs.

Products Are Packed in the Same Box, Regardless of Weight or Quantity

This applies to Exact Packing options.

In the “Ship via 1 Box rules” tab, if there are one or more boxes that have “Max qty allowed in this Box” and “Max Qty Box Valid upto” set to -1 and the box is either a custom box or the “Max Weight Per Box” is -1 in Catalog > Manage Shipping Boxes then that box does not have any weight or quantity limitations. That effectively means that an infinite number of products can fit into that box. If that box applies to all of the products in the cart all larger boxes will be ignored.

Boxes Have Dimensions of 0x0x0

When viewing the logs from the extension, as per the logging section above, if the dimensions of boxes sent to the carrier are unexpectedly sent as 0x0x0 this may be due to several reasons:

  • Dimensions of one or more of the boxes assigned to the product are 0x0x0.
    Double-check all boxes in Catalog > Manage Shipping Boxes and any boxes assigned to the product.
  • Boxes have been assigned to the product in other areas.
    If you are using, for example, Best Fit, check in the “Ship via 1 box” and “Ship via many box” rules sections at the product configuration page. There may be boxes assigned to the product there that have dimensions of 0x0x0.
  • The product is not being packed into boxes.
    If you are using Best Fit ensure that the product’s length, width, height, weight and overall volume do not exceed the parameters of all of the boxes assigned to the product.
    If you are using Exact Packing ensure that the quantity does not exceed the “Box valid upto” value assigned to the box and that it does not exceed the parameters of the box.

Tab Names are Different

In the documentation there are references to the tab names “Ship via 1 box rules” and “Ship via many box rules”. These were previously named “Individual Shipping Boxes” and “Multiple Shipping Boxes” respectively.

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