freight class by density range guide

Freight Class: Properly classifying the first time, lowering costs, and avoiding headaches

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Determine the Right Freight Class to Optimize Shipping Costs

    It takes industry knowledge and trustworthy shipping partners to determine the right freight class. A determination that can have a direct impact on shipping costs and time taken for shipping your freight. Here is the insider’s insight into freight class to help your business make better shipping decisions in the future

Why Freight Class is Significant in LTL Shipping?

      The National Motor Freight Classification or NMFC is specific to LTL or less than truckload shipments. These shipments cover a large number of products that can be shipped inside a single pallet up to 12 linear feet of truck space. The density, stowing efforts, liability, and handling for each are different from the next. So, they have to be charged accordingly to maintain profitability of carriers and fairly charge clients depending on what they are actually shipping.

All interstate, intrastate and foreign movement of commercial LTL shipments use freight classes as a standard.

Calculating Freight Class

Step 1

     Measure the length, width, and depth (in inches) of the shipment. Make sure you are measuring the farthest points in the shipment including all packaging. If the shipment has more than one item, repeat this step for each item.

Step 2

     Multiply the length, width and height from Step 1 to get the volume in cubic inches. Again, for multiple items add the volume of every item for this step.

Step 3

      Now divide the volume from step 3 by 1728 (1728 cubic inches = 1 cubic foot). The figure you now have is the volume of the shipment in cubic feet.

Step 4

Take the weight of the shipment and divide it by the figure from step 3. Now you have the pounds per cubic feet of the shipment or it’s density.

Step 5

Look up the standardized table to find out the estimated freight class of the shipment. Usually the lower the density, the higher the freight class.


There are a total of 18 classes for LTL freight. Shipments that is denser, more easily handled, and sturdy will be classified to a lower class and cost less. The freight that is fragile or more valuable will be classified higher.

freight class by density range guide

How Freight and Logistics Professionals can Help You Improve the Bottom Line?

   You can optimize your shipping costs by relying on a logistics professional to classify your freight. It can be done in multiple ways.

  1. Increasing Density

By using certain provisions, a third-party shipment service can increase the density of your shipment to get it classified in a lower class.

  1. Reducing Released Value

By consulting a seasoned shipping services, businesses can work on lowering the released value of their cargo to reduce its estimated risk and hence the cost of shipping it.

  1. Smart Packaging

With the knowledge of the item in the shipment, a professional service can use packaging to lower your freight class. It can be packing more compactly, tweaking the pellet size, determining the optimum strength of each box, and so on

  1. Properly Classifying your freight the first time

By Properly classifying your freight the first-time companies avoid costly and frustrating freight adjustments or rebills from the carriers after loads have been picked up.

  1. Leveraging larger Bulk Buying Power of a 3PL Freight Brokerage

 Companies can also leverage larger 3PL freight brokerage organizations to help them lower their overall cost of shipping freight no matter the class.  No

  1. Use of Sophisticated Freight Management Software


    By partnering with a Technology-Forward freight provider companies can also help control their freight costs and bottom line.  By using the latest FMS or Freight Management Software companies can save time and effort quoting, booking, and tracking loads.  Thus, drastically reducing the time these processes take and man-power needed to do them can also help reduce their overall cost of shipping freight.

Choose a Freight Partner Wisely!

     Ultimately, partnering with a smart, dedicated, and technologically savvy freight provider can make a big difference in your overall costs.  From helping you classify your freight class correctly the first time, to avoiding costly mistakes while loads are being quoted, booking, and scheduled.  Finding good professional freight help can lower your overall cost of moving freight in a variety of ways and avoid many of the frustrations that can come with it.

Need Help Determining Your Freight Class? We would be happy to help!

1 thought on “Freight Class: Properly classifying the first time, lowering costs, and avoiding headaches”

  1. It’s good to know that freight class can directly impact shipping costs. My sister is working to open a local business this summer and is currently looking for a freight transport service in the area to partner with. The info in your article should help her ask the right questions to decide which transport service to work with!

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