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So why can’t we just measure tonnage the same way we measure the weight of an object such as a ton? To answer that question, let's first understand what it means to measure tonnage.
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight. Its original use as a measurement of volume has continued in the capacity of cargo ships and in terms such as the freight ton. Recent specialized uses include the ton as a measure of energy and for truck classification. It is also a colloquial term, "ton" (any definition) is the heaviest unit of weight typically used in colloquial speech. It is also used informally to mean a large amount of something, material or not.
metric ton used in most other countries is 1,000 kg, equivalent to 2,204.6 pounds avoirdupois. The term derives from tun, denoting a large barrel used in the wine trade and named from the French tonnerre, or “thunder,” in turn named for the rumbling it produced when rolled. Ton came to mean any large weight, until it was standardized at 20 hundredweight although the total weight could be 2,000, 2,160, 2,240, or 2,400 pounds (from 907.18 to 1088.62 kg) depending on whether the corresponding hundredweight contained 100, 108, 112, or 120 pounds. (Source: www.britannica.com)
A ton (t) is a unit of mass (i.e. weight) equivalent to 2000 pounds, or 910kg. It differs from the 'tonne', which weighs 1000kg. Both the short ton and long ton are equivalent to 20 hundredweight, but with the hundredweight defined differently under each system. 'Ton' can also refer to money, denoting £100 in British slang.
When the metric system came into play, the weight of a ton - sometimes now called a short ton - wasn't very tidy, at 910kg. Thus came about the 'tonne', borrowing a French spelling to distinguish between the old short ton (still the dominant unit in the US) but rounded up to a neat, easily divisible 1000kg (2204.62lbs), also known as the long ton. (Source: www.thecalculatorsite.com)