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Freight Class Information From uShip

It sounds complex, but freight class is basically how the shipping industry sorts less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. It evaluates factors like how dense the freight is, how easily it could break, and the cost to transport it to decide the freight class.

Freight class applies only to LTL shipments or LTL auto transport. LTL or partial shipping is when you send items that don’t take up a whole truck space. You need to correctly decode the freight class information to make the most out of your LTL shipping experience. This is because it determines how much you’ll have to pay for shipping and ensures your goods get adequately treated on the road.

In this blog, we’ll review how to determine your LTL freight class and discuss the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) freight system. Getting these details right can save your business some cash and ensure your items are comfortable, safe, sound, and on schedule. Just keep reading to find out.


So, what are LTL freight classes? The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has developed a rulebook called the NMFC system.

It divides everything that needs shipping into different categories based on weight, size, or how difficult it is to stack and handle. This is useful if you are using LTL freight shipping.

Each of the 18 freight classes created by the NMFTA considers specifics such as how sturdy or heavy your package is, its size, and whether it can break easily. Items in a lower class don’t hit your wallet as hard regarding shipping costs. Knowing how to determine freight class for LTL is the first step for professionals navigating budgets and trying to avoid spending all their money on shipping.

You might now wonder what items fall under these categories. Let’s understand it with a couple of examples and unveil various freight class categories:

What Is Freight Class 60?

Let’s discuss freight class 60. This category includes things that weigh 30–35 pounds per cubic foot. It includes car parts and accessories, glue, and bottled water.

What Is Freight Class 70?

Now, you have freight class 70. This zone is lighter, ranging from 15 to 22.5 pounds per cubic foot. It’s easy to imagine a mishmash here: food items, car parts, and automobile engines are all included in this category.

What is Freight Class 85?

Zooming to what freight class 85 is, where items are about 12–13.5 pounds per cubic foot like automobile engines again, cast iron stoves, and created machinery.

What is Freight Class 125?

Freight class 125 includes items weighing between 7 and 8 pounds per cubic foot, such as small household gadgets, exhibit booths, and vending machines.

What is Freight Class 250?

Let’s look at something lighter: freight class 250, which focuses on items between 3 and 4 pounds per cubic foot. It includes bamboo furniture, couch parts waiting to be assembled, and plasma TVs.


Carriers calculate transportation charges based on the freight class information. The class’s height or height determines the cost and handling in transit.

When items are denser and heavier but take up less space, they fall into the lower classes (50–85). They are cheaper to ship, like a pallet of bricks being less of a hit to your wallet than a substantial amount of ping-pong balls. However, when you’re dealing with items that are less dense and lighter but take up a lot of room, those land in the higher classes (125–500), and it means producing more money to ship them—like how getting Styrofoam cups from point A to B costs more than sending canned goods does.

When you consider how quickly and easily some of these items are moved around, things get less complex. Items that don’t need a significant amount of babysitting and can withstand a bumpy ride are usually faster to ship since they’re less of a headache to deal with—for example, steel beams can, in theory, zip through to their destination with less fuss compared to tiresome glassware that needs gentle care.

However, suppose you have fragile cargo, like many computer monitors. In that case, you need more time and ginger handling, posing quite the contrast to sending over textiles that don’t demand as much coddling. By figuring out shipping costs, timing, and how much care needs to go into handling the goods, freight class information turns out to be highly crucial in the transportation world.  Getting that classification spot-on is essential to avoid any nasty surprises like extra fees, late arrivals, or damage along the way.


Two people determining freight class

There are four big areas you need to understand to figure out a freight class: how heavy or light something is (aka density), if it’s a hassle to move around (aka ease of handling), how risky it is to ship (aka liability), and how it fits with other shipments (aka stowability).


Density is solely focused on the ratio of how much space your item takes up versus its weight. For example, if your shipment packs more than 50 pounds into each cubic foot, it lands in the lowest category, class 50. Now, with things weighing little at all, like less than a pound for each cubic foot (think extremely light items such as gold flakes), that’s where Class 500 comes into play.

Ease of Handling

When sending goods as a shipper, you must consider how different items are packed. Most things you’re shipping, such as boxes of toys or cans of food, are fine when loading or unloading them. However, there will be times when you have to deal with things that are not so easy to successfully handle, like an enormous statue or destructible glass items. These items need more attention to keep them safe, affecting how their shipping cost is determined because they’re categorized based on freight class information.


Naturally, if something has a higher risk of breaking or being stolen, like electronics or dangerous goods, it will likely be put into a higher freight class, given the extra risk. Thus, higher liability will lead to higher freight class and cost.


Stowability refers to how easily an item can be loaded, stowed, and unloaded from a trailer. How well items fit naturally influences how much you must pay to ship them. It includes several aspects, such as how heavy and significant the item is, how difficult it is to deal with, and the chance something might break and cause issues.  


uShip uses density-based freight classes to calculate rates, which means the dimensions and weight of your freight are the factors that determine the freight class and, thus, the pricing. We prefer density-based freight because it eliminates arguments with carriers over commodities. Weight and dimensions are much clearer and easier to determine. 

uShip automatically calculates your LTL freight class. That means you can save time and money when you choose us to ship your freight. Not only do we calculate your freight class for you, but we also offer the following benefits:

  • Rebill Protection: uShip audits your invoice to ensure no mistakes were made. In addition, if you do not agree with an additional charge, we will assist you in disputing it with your carrier directly.
  • Load Your Own Rates: If you have your own rates with LTL carriers, you can load them directly into your uShip portal, allowing you to compare quotes all in one place.
  • Customer-Specific Rates: We can negotiate pricing with carriers based on your individual volume.
  • Referral Program: You will receive shipping credit when you refer a friend.
  • Protection: Did you know LTL carriers do not have full liability insurance? It’s always best to cover your freight with a uShip Protection Plan.

From competitive prices to great customer service, it’s clear why so many small businesses prefer obtaining LTL freight quotes from uShip.


Mistake #1: Mentioning the wrong address

It doesn’t happen often, but it still does, even by intelligent and informed people, or we even have computers to blame sometimes.

What happens next is a delayed package because it appears at a random person’s door instead of where it was supposed to be. It becomes difficult for this large transaction to get back on track and send the package where it needs to go. This mistake costs not only money to fix, but people will be highly annoyed because their items came late.

Mistake #2: Getting the Bill Of Lading (BOL) wrong

The Bill of Lading is essential for every shipment that goes out. It’s a legal paper that tells the delivery company and the truck driver everything they need to know to correctly handle and charge for the delivery. The BOL discusses a significant quotient of items such as when the material shipped, who’s sending and receiving it, how much it weighs, what packages are used, and even special delivery instructions. There are several specific pieces of data on this document, and blundering any of it, such as writing the wrong product name or quantity, might result in significant problems and extra costs. See how uShip’s eBOL simplifies this process. 

Mistake #3: Misclassifying Freight

Making sure the weight and data about the freight class on your shipment are correct can feel overwhelming, but it’s crucial. Suppose you make a mistake with the weight by guessing or putting down the wrong freight class, trying to save a few bucks. In that case, extra fees will cost you more and damage your business’s good name. Shippers sometimes list their items as a cheaper class to save money, yet when they’re wrong, the fee to fix it is significantly more than the little they tried to save. Luckily, uShip can help you determine this. 


What is Less Than Truckload Vehicle Shipping?

Shipping cars that don’t need the space of a whole truck or trailer is called “less than truckload” (LTL) shipping. In LTL vehicle shipping, multiple commodities from different buyers are put on one truck for transport. Shippers can save money by sharing a truck’s space and resources with other packages.

How to Get a Class S Freight?

Usually, a class S freighter is a classification used in specific systems or businesses. You should seek advice from suppliers or industry specialists in the relevant field to get a Class S freighter.

Can You Upgrade a Freight Class?

The features of the transported commodities, like weight, density, and handling needs, define the freight classifications. These criteria usually determine freight classifications. For correct processing and price, freight must be classified precisely from the beginning.

How to Determine LTL Freight Class?

When determining the freight class for LTL shipping, you can use online freight class calculators or the NMFC to group your goods based on their unique characteristics correctly. At uShip, we calculate this for you. 

How Do I Find My Freight Class Code?

You can determine your freight class code by examining your commodity’s specifics, such as weight, size, and handling needs. To find the correct freight class number, use tools like freight class software or talk to people in the field.


It’s important to pinpoint your goods’ freight class correctly, as it’s essential for a no-sweat shipping journey. Following the above tips for the right classification of freight classes can help you dodge those head-scratching pricing mismatches, ensure your items are handled right, and make the whole shipping operation great.

If picking the perfect freight is puzzling, try uShip’s service. Whether you’re sending a little or a lot, uShip can calculate freight class for you. It makes it very simple to figure out your items’ class and get your shipping information easily.

Our service is your No. 1 option for avoiding bumps in figuring out your shipment’s freight class, leading to clear skies in your shipping process.  

beer kegs ready for freight class calculation


What is a freight class, and why is it important?

A freight class categorizes goods based on density, stability, and handling needs, which is crucial for accurate pricing and proper handling during shipping. 

How do I determine my freight class?

Calculate based on your shipment’s weight, dimensions, and characteristics using online calculators or classification guides.

What factors affect freight class?

Weight, size, density, handling requirements, and commodity type influence the assigned freight class. 

How can misclassifying freight impact shipping costs?

Misclassification can lead to incorrect pricing, overpayment, or underpayment for shipping services.

What is the NMFC, and how does it relate to freight class?

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) provides standards for classifying goods, directly influencing the assigned freight class.

How accurate does my freight class need to be?

It should be precise to avoid cost discrepancies and ensure proper handling and delivery of your shipment.

Can freight class affect delivery times?

Yes, as it determines handling requirements and costs, impacting the transportation process and potentially affecting delivery schedules.

What are the most common mistakes in freight classification?

Common mistakes include inaccurately measuring dimensions, misidentifying commodities, and overlooking specific handling requirements, leading to incorrect freight class assignments.