Freight Class and Freight Class Density: Everything You Need to Know
The freight transportation industry touches the lives of every American on an almost daily basis. Everything you buy and consume – groceries, electronics, appliances, vehicles, and more – are brought to you by freight. But, did you know how the freight carriers transport different items safely and efficiently across the length and breadth of the country? The answer is Freight Class.
In the year 2017 alone, the trucking industry moved 10.8 billion tons of freight. That includes everything from your bath soap to medicine. But not everything can be shipped the same way. Different shipments require a different set of preparations, handling, and vehicles. Freight classes make it easy for businesses and their LTL carriers to determine the costs and special provisions to be made for shipping a package.
What is Freight Class?
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has created a comprehensive list of codes denoting every type of product and commodity. These codes are called NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) codes. Each NMFC code corresponds to a specific freight class, which is numbered between 50 and 500.
For instance, hardwood flooring belongs to freight class 50; computers belong to freight class 92.5, and so on.
How is Freight Class Defined?
Freight classes are defined based on 4 factors:
Determined by the weight and volume of the shipment
Which translates to ease of loading and fit with other packages in the trailer.
Whether your shipment is fragile, hazardous, heavy, awkward to handle, and so on.
The likelihood of the shipment being stolen, damaged, or harmful to other packages.
Benefits of Properly Classifying your Freight
There are several benefits of classifying your freight accurately. Here are some of them:
- Cost Savings
Wrong assignment of freight class to your shipment may result in you paying higher freight charges in the form of a rebill or freight adjustment after the fact.
- Time Savings
If you assigned a wrong freight class to your shipment, then the LTL provider may have to reassign its freight class. This can lead to wasted time in back-and-forth communication. Or worse, the LTL provider may even assign a higher freight class to your shipment, resulting in higher shipment charges.
- Proper Care During Shipping
If your freight is potentially dangerous to other shipments in the trailer, or perhaps even humans, then it requires special handling and care measures. These preparations are standardized and are based on freight classes. If your shipment is assigned a wrong class and your LTL provider does not make proper arrangements, then it can lead to damage to property and life.
Tools for Classifying Freight Classes
We have developed 2 easy-to-use tools to help you find the right freight class for your shipment. They are free to use now, and forever. Use them to find the freight class for your shipment today:
- Freight Class Density Calculator: which is part of our Freight Management Software GTZ ship. Contact us for a demo login or account set up.
- NMFC Code Lookup: We would be happy to assist you with NMFC or freight class code look ups. Please connect with us for quick help anytime using our Class IT access.
Both of these tools are part of our full-featured toolkit, ClassIT, which comes with more robust features for you.
Need assistance identifying your product's most correct Freight Class? We can help!
If you need help assigning freight class to your shipment, call us today! We have been working in freight and logistics for over 15 years and would be happy to help you determine your products best freight class the first time correctly.
We’d love to hear from you.