Freight Classes Help You Compare Shipping Rates
What is a Freight Class?
When shipping with different warehouses, brokers, and carriers, things can get tricky. Freight classes are designed to help you get standardized freight pricing on your shipment as you navigate around those variable. Freight classes are standardized and defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), they are made available through the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC). The NMFC system provides consumers a uniform pricing structure of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate, and foreign commerce.
How is a Freight Class Determined?
Freight class is decided based on an evaluation of four characteristics: density, stowability, handling, and liability. In unison, these characteristics determine a shipment’s “transportability.”
- Density: Density is the space that the item occupies in observance of its weight. It is calculated by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by its volume in cubic feet. Freight that weighs 50 pounds per cubic foot will be assigned a density classification of 50; freight that weights less than 1 pound per cubic foot will classified 500.
- Stowability: Most freight stores well in trains, trucks, or boats; however some items are regulated by carrier or governmental policy and cannot be loaded with other freight. For example, hazardous materials must follow specific transportation guidelines. Irregular shapes or excessive length and weight can make freight very difficult to store alongside other items. If your freight is difficult to stack, stow, or load alongside other freight, then you may have to pay extra in shipping.
- Handing: Handling is a classification that represents ease, or difficulty, of loading and carrying the freight. Properties such as weight, shape, fragility, or hazard can affect how the freight is treated.
- Liability: Liability measures the probability of freight damage or theft, or damage to the surrounding freight and environment. For example, barrels of liquid nitrogen are much more dangerous to transport than barrels cat food; and a package of diamonds is much more likely to be stolen than a box of nuts and bolts. Liability is assigned a value per pound.
|Examples||Weight Ranges Per Cubic Foot (density)|
|Class 50||Fits on standard shrink-wrapped 4x4 pallet, very durable||over 50 lbs|
|Class 55||Bricks, cement, mortar, hardwood flooring||35-50 pounds|
|Class 60||Car accessories & car parts||30-35 pounds|
|Class 65||Car accessories & car parts, bottled beverages, books in boxes
|Class 70||Car accessories & car parts, food items, automobile engines||15-22.5 pounds|
|Class 77.5||Tires, bathroom fixtures||13.5-15 pounds|
|Class 85||Crated machinery, cast iron stoves||12-13.5 pounds|
|Class 92.5||Computers, monitors, refrigerators||10.5-12 pounds|
|Class 100||Boat covers, car covers, canvas, wine cases, caskets||9-10.5 pounds|
|Class 110||Cabinets, framed artwork, table saw||8-9 pounds|
|Class 125||Small Household appliances||7-8 pounds|
|Class 150||Auto sheet metal parts, bookcases,||6-7 pounds|
|Class 175||Clothing, couches stuffed furniture||5-6 pounds|
|Class 200||Auto sheet metal parts, aircraft parts, aluminum table, packaged mattresses,||4-5 pounds|
|Class 250||Bamboo furniture, mattress and box spring, plasma TV||3-4 pounds|
|Class 300||Wood cabinets, tables, chairs setup, model boats||2-3 pounds|
|Class 400||Deer antlers||1-2 pounds|
|Class 500||Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls||Less than 1 lbs.|