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Complete Guide to Freight Class 2022

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) describes a class as a way for providing the transportability of a commodity. The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is the regulation that enforces this system by grouping commodities into one of the 18 classes generally ranging from 50 to 500. The NMFC determines this class by using four characteristics namely: Density, Stowability, Handling, and Liability.

  • Density: The density of the commodity is determined by its weight and dimensions. The higher the density, the lower the class, and simultaneously lower will be the cost. The carriers usually prefer shipping freight which is heavy and does not take more space in comparison to the weight. This means that they can fit more products on the truck and more will be revenue of income.
  • Stowability: The term stowability refers to the procedure of arranging shipment with other freight in the transportation vehicle. It is the shipment's ability to be "stowed" or transported in relation to other items. This takes into consideration the hazardous shipments or items with the bigger dimension that makes it difficult to load freight around them.
  • Handling: It is a process that takes into consideration the item's ability to be handled as the freight is loaded and unloaded from the less than truckload terminal to the LTL terminal. The dimensions, fragility, and packaging play a very important role in the handling of the shipment.
  • Liability:The liability plays into account the probability of the shipment which is damaged or stolen or damaging other adjacent freight as well as the perishability of freight theft of the item.

How The Freight Class Affects The Prices Of Quotes:

The lower the class the lower will be the price. For e.g., an item that is class 50 will be cheaper to ship than an item that is class 500.

The NMFC Freight Class Codes Chart List

The different commodities have a different combination of these four factors and this NMFC code list divides them into 18 classes numbered from 50 to 500.

In the following table, there are enough samples of goods that are usually found in each class.

Class Name Samples Weight Range Per Cubic Foot Cost
Class 50- Clean Freight Fits on standard shrink-wrapped 4x4 pallets, strapping material, and flour. Over 50 lbs. Lowest
Freight Class 55 Bricks, Cement, Mortar, hardwood flooring, clothes or rags, magazines, copy paper 35-50 lbs.
Freight Class 60 Car accessories & car parts, steel cables, used tires, stone blocks, glass, and moldings. 30-35 lbs.
Freight Class 65 Car Parts and accessories, bottled beverages, books in boxes, conveyors, chocolate in boxes, electric cords, and tile. 22.5-30 lbs
Freight Class 70 Newspapers, wooden pencils, machinery, caskets, unassembled furniture, food items, and automobile engines. 15-22.5 lbs
Freight Class 77.5 Tires, bathroom fixtures, garments, shirts/pants, snowplows 13.5 - 15 lbs.
Freight Class 85 Crated machinery, transmissions, clutches, doors, CDs/DVDs, motorcycle engine 12 - 13.5 lbs
Freight Class 92.5 Computers, monitors, refrigerators and freezers, gas-powered generators, cabinets, kiosk or ATMs 10.5 - 12 lbs
Freight Class 100 Vacuum, boat & car covers, canvas, wine cases, caskets 9 - 10.5 lbs
Freight Class 110 Cabinets, framed paintings & artwork, table saw, metalworking 8 - 9 lbs
Freight Class 125 Small household appliances, pictures/posters in boxes, exhibit 7 - 8 lbs
booths, vending machines
Class 175 Clothing, couches, stuffed furniture 5 - 6 Lbs.
Freight Class 150 ATV, jet skis, motorcycles, assembled wooden furniture, workstations 6 - 7 lbs
Freight Class 175 Clothing, couches, stuffed furniture, metal cabinets, 5 - 6 lbs
Freight Class 200 TVs, aircraft parts, aluminium tables, packaged mattresses, snowmobiles 4 - 5 lbs
Freight Class 250 Bamboo furniture, engine hoods, mattresses and box springs, unassembled couch, plasma TV 3 - 4 lbs
Freight Class 300 Wood cabinets, tables, chairs, model boats, kayaks/canoes, chassis 2 - 3 lbs
Class 400 Deer antlers 1 - 2 lbs
Freight Class 500 (Low Density or High Value) Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls Less than 1 lb. Highest

What are NMFC codes?

Every LTL shipping item has an NMFC code associated with it. The NMFC codes are very similar in concept to PLU codes which are available at grocery stores, therefore every item is shipped with a code. For example, the hardwood flooring is assigned NMFC #37860, whereas corrugated boxes are assigned NMFC #29250.

Such codes are usually accessed via a database of NMFC that is constantly being updated. The NMFC code for the product supports determining the freight class. The NMFC code will support the class classification of the item. Many items have a permanent class, whereas others might be classed based on density, packaging value, or several other factors.

The item which is density-based means that the freight's density will support determining the class. For example, the machinery will fit under NMFC #133300, usually that the database suggests, is the density-based code. Therefore, if you are shipping machinery, you will need to determine the density of the item (based on its weight, dimensions, and pallet counts), and this will further support on how to calculate freight class.

For all the density-based classes, a lower density means a higher class and a higher density means a lower class. By using this example, let us say we have 2 machines on standard-sized pallets with similar dimensions (48"x 40"x 48"). Machine #1 weighs 100 lbs and Machine #2 weighs 500 lbs. It means that machine#1 is denser than machine #2, by giving it a lower freight classification and a cheaper price.

Therefore, on the other hand, many shipping items have a permanent class regardless of their size or weight. Such an example of a fixed-class item would be a transmission. A transmission's NMFC code is 19940, which classes at 85 no matter the size, weight, or packaging. As such there may also be NMFC codes that are class based on the packaging of the item, value, and product characteristic. As such the only way to ensure this is with the LTL shipping expert who may assist in looking up the item on the NMFC database.

How To Find The Correct Freight Class Or NMFC Code?

In this article, we have covered in detail the shipping class and how it affects the cost of freight shipping Therefore, it is necessary to find the correct class for the freight. Therefore, many carriers and LTL freight brokers often use a freight class calculator, which helps in determining the density and an estimated class of the product. Such tools are very convenient for casual shippers but they offer only estimated classes. If you are someone who wants to avoid freight reclasses, the only way for ensuring the class is to confirm the freight class is by using the correct NMFC code, and by making sure it is legit on the BOL of the freight at the time of pickup. The LTL shipping expert will help in doing this as they have the access to the NMFC database. Therefore, below are a few included classing tips for keeping shipping simple and easy.

Freight Class Tips and Tricks:

  • It is necessary to always include the NMFC code on the BOL so that the carrier can see it in the logistics services.
  • It is recommended to always include the freight description on the BOL to the best of your ability. If something is labeled as a "shipping item" it is more likely to be re-classed as the carrier will have no idea what the freight is and what class is correct.
  • The class calculators support giving the exact density of the shipment; however, their classes are always estimated. Not every item has density-based classes
  • Always be aware of the habits of the carrier. Every carrier is not created equal and many are harder on re-classes and inspection than others. Always know the limitations of the carriers who are in business with you.