Freight class or NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) is a shipping industry standard and grouping system developed by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). It is used for interstate, intrastate, and foreign (Mexico and Canada) commerce movement of cargo.
Transportation companies that use or post in their contracts with shipper’s tariffs including commodity descriptions, classes, rules, packaging specifications, and bills of lading must participate in the NMFC. The rules of NMFC do not apply to transportation companies that are not participants.
How is Freight Class determined?
As defined by the NMFTA “Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes — from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, handling, stowability, and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s transportability.”
By analyzing commodities based on the four transportation characteristics and ONLY based on those characteristics, the NMFC provides both carriers and shippers with a standard by which to begin negotiations and greatly simplifies the comparative evaluation of the many thousands of products moving in today’s competitive marketplace.
Cargo Characteristics Explained
Density: An item’s density is determined by the ratio resulting from how much weight (lbs.) per unit of volume (cubic foot) your cargo has. The higher the density, the lower the class and ultimately, the lower the cost. Carriers prefer to move freight that is heavy and doesn’t take up a lot of space since this translates into being able to fit more cargo in the truck.
Stowability: How the cargo can be arranged with other freight in the transport vehicle. This characteristic takes into account hazardous materials that might not be able to be transported along with other hazardous or non-hazardous items, also it takes into consideration cargo with odd or non-uniform shapes that make it difficult to load cargo around them or on top of them.
Handling: This relates to the level of difficulty or ease with which a piece of cargo can be handled as it is loaded and unloaded from terminal to terminal. It pays close attention to the dimensions, fragility, and packaging of the cargo.
Liability: Liability considers the probability of the shipment being damaged or stolen or damaging other adjacent freight; it also considers its perishability of it.
Below is a table with examples illustrating the 18 classes:
Weight Range Per Cubic Foot
|Class 50||Nuts, bolts, steel rods, or dense bagged materials such as flour or concrete||Over 50 lbs.||Lowest|
|Class 55||Bricks, cement, mortar, hardwood flooring, cloths or rags, magazines, copy paper||35 – 50 lbs|
|Class 60||Car accessories & car parts, steel cables, used tires, stone blocks, glass, moldings||30 – 35 lbs|
|Class 65||Car parts & accessories, bottled beverages, books in boxes, conveyors, chocolate in boxes, electric cords, tile||22.5 – 30 lbs|
|Class 70||Newspapers, wooden pencils, machinery, caskets, unassembled furniture, food items, automobile engines||15 – 22.5 lbs|
|Class 77.5||Tires, bathroom fixtures, garments, shirts/pants, snowplows||13.5 – 15 lbs|
|Class 85||Crated machinery, transmissions, clutches, doors, CDs/DVDs, motorcycle engine||12 – 13.5 lbs|
|Class 92.5||Computers, monitors, refrigerators and freezers, gas-powered generators, cabinets, kiosk or ATMs||10.5 – 12 lbs|
|Class 100||Vacuum, boat & car covers, canvas, wine cases, caskets||9 – 10.5 lbs|
|Class 110||Cabinets, framed paintings & artwork, table saw, metalworking||8 – 9 lbs|
|Class 125||Small household appliances, pictures/posters in boxes, exhibit booths, vending machines||7 – 8 lbs|
|Class 150||ATV, jet skis, motorcycles, assembled wooden furniture, workstations||6 – 7 lbs|
|Class 175||Clothing, couches, stuffed furniture, metal cabinets||5 – 6 lbs|
|Class 200||TVs, aircraft parts, aluminum table, packaged mattresses, snowmobiles||4 – 5 lbs|
|Class 250||Bamboo furniture, engine hoods, mattresses and box springs, unassembled couch, plasma TV||3 – 4 lbs|
|Class 300||Wood cabinets, tables, chairs, model boats, kayaks/canoes, chassis||2 – 3 lbs|
|Class 400||Deer antlers||1 – 2 lbs|
|Class 500 (Low Density or High Value)||Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls||Less than 1 lb.||Table|
Why Rreight Class Accuracy is Crucial to LTL Carriers and Shippers
Freight class only applies to LTL shipments and gives carriers and shippers a common ground for pricing and understanding freight costs. Unlike truckloads, LTL shipments often may contain a variety of products on a single pallet, each with potentially unique characteristics. Freight classification creates a fair, shared standard for pricing that freight.
Classify Freight Right, the First Time!
If freight is improperly classified, it can mean frustrating repricing, quick-turn corrections, and uncomfortable conflicts with the customer. That’s why it’s important to get freight classified right the first time. Moreover, LTL freight specialists need to be able to plan around loads conformed by cargo with different classifications.
Understanding and properly noting freight class is essential in pricing your freight correctly and moving your cargo safely to your destination. At Promptus we have expert staff to guide you with your domestic LTL shipments. Contact us; we’d be happy to assist you! Call us at 1-877-776-6799 or emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org.