Freight Class: NMFC Codes Explained

What is Freight Class?

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association, the industry authority on this matter, defines freight class as:

“a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce.”

Put simply, freight class is a means of categorizing a type of freight shipment based most crucially on its density and value. These classifications are commonly known as Freight Classes or the NMFC Codes (National Motor Freight Classification). NMFA sets the industry standard for freight classes and categorizes commodities into 18 different classes, which range from 50 to 500. Generally speaking, the higher the class, the higher the rateThe factors that determine a freight’s class are density, stowability, handling and liability.

Density

An item’s density is based on its weight and dimensions and is crucial in determining its freight class. Will an item take up a lot of space and consume a good amount of the weight allowance on a cargo ship or is it lighter and/or smaller, allowing for other shipments to be stored alongside it? One of the first things we do when determining pricing is to find an item’s density in order to answer these questions up front. 

Stowability

Determining how easy it is to store an item is the next factor in finding its NMFC code. Items that are difficult to store will have a higher class than easily-stored items. Some items that are difficult to store include temperature-controlled items, sensitive or hazardous materials or items with strange dimensions. 

Handling

Handling concerns how an item must be moved about throughout the shipping process. If an item is delicate or otherwise needing additional assistance to move, it will be assigned a higher class than an easy-to-move item.

Liability

Liability takes into account how likely a given item is to be lost, stolen, perished, damaged or damaging to other freight. If any of these is more likely to happen to an item than the average shipment, it will be assigned a higher class because of the additional precautions that will need to be taken. 

Find Your Shipment’s Freight Class

At LogiWorld, we work with each customer to determine their shipment’s freight class based on the details of their shipment. We are happy to explain each of the determining factors of a shipment’s freight class in order to provide transparency for all our customers. Contact us today for a free quote on your upcoming shipment and we will walk you through how we determined your freight classification!

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