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LTLFreight Class vs. NMFC Codes - What's the Difference?

The Less-than-truckload (LTL) and Full truckload (FTL) have some similarities but there are a few differences in comparison with how the shipments are quoted.

For better calculation ofLTLfreight shipping costs, the LTLcommodities are broken into several classes which are known as the Freight class.

Therefore, in this article, you will learn about the basics of freight class and NMFC codes for a better understanding and the role they play in LTLshipping.

When getting an accurate LTL freight quote this knowledge is critical and comprehensive for shipping different commodities.

What is an LTLfreight Class?

The freight class is an industry-wide arithmetic classification system that is used to classify commodities that are transported through LTLshipping.

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is made available through National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) which specifically defines the freight classes.

There are 18 different freight classes which range from Class 50 to Class 500 and every single item that involves LTLshipping is classified into one of these categories.

Why is Freight Class important in LTLshipping?

In LTLshipping, all commodities are not equal. The different products have different freight classes and therefore, the shipment's freight class significantly affects the rate.

To get an accurate LTL quote, we need an accurate freight class.

The LTLcarrier loads and unloads the product several times and multiple shipper's freight ride in the same trailer as such. The pallets are arranged according to their weight, dimensions, packaging, fragility, and whether it is stackable or not.

The LTLcarriers often re-weigh freight and you are charged based on the space the products take on the trailer.

Why is no Freight Class included in the Full Truckload?

The commodity is not that important in the Full truckload. It is so because the freight is not offloaded in transit and does not share the trailer space with the product of other shippers and it only involves one driver and piece of equipment disregarding the space the product occupies.

How does Freight Class Impacts the Costs of Shipping?

The high-density items (i.e., steel bars) will usually have a lower freight class (e.g., 50) whereas the low-density items (i.e., kitchen materials) will have a high freight class (e.g., 500).


The lower the freight class, the lower the rate- 50 is the least expensive

The higher the freight class, the higher the rate- 500 is the most expensive

What Commodities Make Up Each Freight Class?

Freight Class Commodity Examples Density (Weight Per cubic Ft).
Class 50 Nuts, Bolts, Steel Rods 50+ Lbs.
Class 55 Hardwood Flooring, bricks, cement 35-50 Lbs.
Class 60 Car Parts and Accessories 30-35 Lbs.
Class 65 Car Parts and Accessories, boxed books, bottled beverages 22.5-30 Lbs.
Class 70 Food Items, Boxed Paper 15-22.5 Lbs.
Class 77.5 Tires, Bathroom Fixtures 13.5-15 Lbs.
Class 85 Crated machinery, cast iron stoves 12-13.5 Lbs.
Class 92.5 Computers, Monitors, Refrigerators 10.5-12 Lbs.
Class 100 Boat and car covers, wine cases 9-10.5 Lbs.
Class 110 Cabinets, Framed art, table saws 8-9 Lbs.
Class 125 Toasters, Blenders, and other household appliances 7-8 Lbs.
Class 150 Auto sheet metals, Bookcases 6-7 Lbs.
Class 175 Clothing, couches, stuffed furniture 5-6 Lbs.
Class 200 Sheet Metal, packaged mattress, aircraft parts 4-5 Lbs.
Class 250 Flatscreen TVs, bamboo furniture, mattresses, and box springs 3-4 Lbs.
Class 300 Wood cabinets, model boats, assembled tables 2-3 Lbs.
Class 400 Deer Antlers 1-2 Lbs.
Class 500 Ping Pong balls, bags of gold dust 1 Lbs.

Difference Between NMFC codes vs Freight Class

Each commodity has both a freight class and an NMFC code.

The freight class represents a category of items Whereas, NMFC codes represent specific codes within each of the 18 freight classes.

For Example: Bricks: NMFC code= 32100.2, Freight Class= 50 Steel Pipers: NMFC code= 51200, Freight Class=50

As every commodity has a different freight class of up to 50, so they have different NMFC commodity codes.

NMFC Classification Is Based On 4 Factors

  • Density: The density is referred to the weight per cubic foot of each piece, or the space any item occupies in relation to the weight.

    The commodities which have a higher density usually fall into a lower freight class and they are easier to ship because they are more compact. The high-density commodities are cheaper to ship than the bulkier low-density items.

  • Handling: Handling refers to the unique handling or special care requirements which are needed during transportation. The fragile or hazardous items require special accommodations, which signifies that they fall into a higher freight class and it costs more money for shipping. The size, weight, and shape also impact the ease of handling while increasing the cost of shipping.
  • Stowability: Stowability refers to how a commodity is loaded and transported with other commodities. Therefore, if the freight is hazardous, perishable, flammable, or too heavy it is difficult to ship them in reference to other items. The items with higher freight class are more expensive to ship and they are difficult to stow with other items.
  • Liability: The liability of the product is covered by the probability of freight theft, damage, or damage to nearby loads. Therefore, if the commodity is perishable, combustible, or has hazardous properties it will have a higher liability and will have more shipping costs.

Why are NMFC codes so Important?

The NMFC codes support the LTLcarriers in the determination of how difficult it is to ship a particular commodity.

The freight class primarily takes density into consideration.

The NMFC codes primarily get more specific and account for several factors which significantly impact the effectiveness of the shipping process.

Some of the factors which are considered by NMFC codes are:
  • Weight, Length, and Height
  • Type of Commodity
  • Freight Density
  • Ease of Handling
  • Liability and Value of the commodity
  • Packaging

How To clearly determine an NMFC code for the LTLshipment?

For the determination of the specific NMFC code, the NMFC classification tool can be used

The Following Steps To Look Up NMFC Codes :

  • Searching for the commodity within the tools.
  • Select the commodity/NMFC which best adapts to the freight that is shipped
  • Calculation of density of the commodity with a freight calculator (The specifications like the commodity's exact length, width, height, and weight).
  • Selection of the correct class based on the density of the commodity.

One of the best LTLfreight companies in USA like National Freight Logistics can help you figure out the exact freight class and NMFC codes with LTL freight services across United States. For all inquiries contact our professionals today.