What is Freight Class?

Learn How to Calculate Your Freight Class
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Freight Class Defined

 

Freight class, or NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification), can be defined as a standardized shipping industry pricing classification system developed and established by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. It’s used for intrastate, interstate, and international movement of less than truckload commercial shipments.

 

Freight classification establishes uniform parameters for pricing between brokers, carriers, and warehouses. Several factors determine freight classes, such as ease of handling, density, stowability, measurements, weight, and much more.

 

By understanding NMFTA’s freight classification system, you’ll be able to calculate your own NMFC codes, boost your bottom line, and comply with important rules and regulations.

Reason for Freight Classes

 

The purpose of freight shipping classes is to provide a standard comparison of commodities. Because millions of products are shipped each year, NMFC codes are necessary to ensure a fair playing field. In other words, freight classes facilitate straightforward freight rates and negotiations within the LTL logistics industry.

What Determines Freight Class?

 

Freight class is based on a commodity’s transportability, or how easily a carrier can transport it. When calculating freight shipping rates, four primary factors come into play: density, ease of handling, liability (risk), and stowability. We’ve covered these factors in more detail below.

Density

Density represents how much an item weighs per unit volume. LTL freight’s density is measured in PCF, or pounds per cubic foot. When talking about freight classes, class 50 (lowest class) is given to freight less than 50 lbs. per cubic foot (pallet of bricks). On the other hand, class 500 freight is less than 1 lb. per cubic foot (ping-pong balls).

Density

Density represents how much an item weighs per unit volume. LTL freight’s density is measured in PCF, or pounds per cubic foot. When talking about freight classes, class 50 (lowest class) is given to freight less than 50 lbs. per cubic foot (pallet of bricks). On the other hand, class 500 freight is less than 1 lb. per cubic foot (ping-pong balls).

Ease of Handling

Ease of handling means exactly how it sounds — the measurement of how easy it is to handle your freight. Typically, most freight is pretty easy to move; however, If the shipment requires special services, this will cause the freight to be placed in a higher class. Examples would be irregular sizes and shapes, fragile freight, or hazardous goods.

Ease of Handling

Ease of handling means exactly how it sounds — the measurement of how easy it is to handle your freight. Typically, most freight is pretty easy to move; however, If the shipment requires special services, this will cause the freight to be placed in a higher class. Examples would be irregular sizes and shapes, fragile freight, or hazardous goods.

Liability

If the freight is fragile or perishable, then the liability increases. As a result, the item is placed in a higher freight class. In other words, if the freight holds potential liability concerns and costs for a carrier, it’s going to be more expensive to ship.

Liability

If the freight is fragile or perishable, then the liability increases. As a result, the item is placed in a higher freight class. In other words, if the freight holds potential liability concerns and costs for a carrier, it’s going to be more expensive to ship.

Stowability

Stowability is how the dimensions of the freight fit into a trailer. Think about a perfectly packed pallet as opposed to an excessively long crate. Additionally, some types of freight are subject to government regulation or individual carrier policies. Some freight can’t be loaded together, such as hazardous materials or overly massive products. Freight class is a great way to quantify cargo’s stowability in relation to how easy or difficult it is to handle.

Stowability

Stowability is how the dimensions of the freight fit into a trailer. Think about a perfectly packed pallet as opposed to an excessively long crate. Additionally, some types of freight are subject to government regulation or individual carrier policies. Some freight can’t be loaded together, such as hazardous materials or overly massive products. Freight class is a great way to quantify cargo’s stowability in relation to how easy or difficult it is to handle.

How to Calculate Freight Class: Step by Step

 

Use the following formula to calculate your freight class:

 

  • Measure Your Freight: Measure the length, width, and height of your freight in inches, including the packaging. For additional assistance, see our guide on measuring freight.
  • Convert to Cubic Inches: Multiply the length, width, and height of your freight to convert your freight to cubic inches (L x W x H = Total Cubic Inches).
  • Convert to Cubic Feet: Divide the cubic inches (number from the last step) by 1,728 (number of inches in a cubic foot). Example: Total Cubic Inches / 1,728 = Total cubic feet.
  • Divide for Density: Lastly, divide your freight’s total weight (in pounds) by the total cubic feet above. This will give you the density of your freight.

 

Putting it all together looks like this: Weight / [(LxWxH) / 1,728] = Density

NMFC Freight Class Chart

 

CLASSCOMMODITY EXAMPLEPCF WEIGHT RANGE
50Bulk Nuts & Bolts, Pallet of Bricks 50+ Pounds
55Hardwood Flooring, Paint Cans35-50 Pounds
60Car Accessories, Ceramic Tiles30-35 Pounds
65Boxes of Books, Bottled Drinks22.5-30 Pounds
70Forklift Battery, Car Parts15-22.5 Pounds
77.5Tires, Bathroom Fixtures13.5-15 Pounds
85Used Auto Engine, Crated Machinery12-13.5 Pounds
92.5Computers, Monitors10.5-12 Pounds
100Wooden Furniture, Boat/Car Covers9-10.5 Pounds
110Cosmetics, Framed Artwork8-9 Pounds
125Toasters, Blenders7-8 Pounds
150Auto Sheet Metal, Surgical Instruments6-7 Pounds
175Clothing, Fishing Nets5-6 Pounds
200Aircraft Parts, Sporting Helmets4-5 Pounds
250Mattress and Box Spring, Stuffed Furniture3-4 Pounds
300Cell Phones, Animal Taxidermy2-3 Pounds
400Kayaks, Bags of Potato Chips1-2 Pounds
500Ping-pong Balls, Insulation<1 Pound

How to Avoid Calculating Freight Classes

 

uShip automatically calculates your LTL freight class for you. 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.
  • Insurance: Did you know LTL carriers do not have full liability insurance? It’s always best to cover your freight with a uShip cargo insurance policy.

 

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

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