Freight Class: What is and How To Determine LTL Freight Class

  • What is a Freight Class?

    Freight classes are designed to help you get common standardized freight pricing for your shipment when working with different carriers, warehouses and brokers. Freight classes are defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) and made available through the NMFC or National Motor Freight Classification. In the United States, each commodity or type of product is assigned a National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and corresponding class for less than truckload (LTL) freight shipments. The (NMFC) system is a standardized method designed to give consumers a uniform pricing structure when transporting freight. There are 18 classes that a shipped package may fall under with class 50 being the least expensive, to class 500 as the most expensive. The number assigned to an item is important to freight carriers in determining the tariffs, which in turn determine the price charged to the customer.

    What Factors Go into Determining Freight Class?

    Before you determine your freight class for your shipment, you must identify certain factors about your specific freight. Freight class is based on weight, length and height, density, ease of handling, value and liability from things like theft, damage, break-ability and spoilage.. The definitions for each are as follows:

    1. (Weight, Length, Height) Density and Value: Density guidelines assign classification 50 to freight that weighs 50 pounds per cubic foot. The Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB) assigns classifications 70, 92.5, 175 and 400 to freight with densities of 15, 10.5, 5, and 1 pound per cubic foot, respectively. Freight less dense than 1 pound per cubic foot is classified as 500. The density is the space the item occupies in relation to its weight. The density is calculated by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by its volume in cubic feet. Your item's volume in cubic feet is Length x Width x Height/1,728, where all dimensions are measured in inches. The density of your item = Weight/Volume, where Weight is measured in pounds and Volume is measured in cubic feet.
    2. Stow-ability: Most freight stows well in trucks, trains and boats, but some articles are regulated by the government or carrier policies. Some items cannot be loaded together. Hazardous materials are transported in specific manners. Excessive weight, length or protrusions can make freight impossible to load with other freight. The absence of load-bearing surfaces makes freight impossible to stack. A quantifiable stow-ability classification represents the difficulty in loading and carrying these items.
    3. Handling: Most freight is loaded with mechanical equipment and poses no handling difficulties, but some freight, due to weight, shape, fragility or hazardous properties, requires special attention. A classification that represents ease or difficulty of loading and carrying the freight is assigned to the items.
    4. Liability: Liability is probability of freight theft or damage, or damage to adjacent freight. Perishable cargo or cargo prone to spontaneous combustion or explosion is classified based on liability and assigned a value per pound, which is a fraction of the carrier's liability. When classification is based on liability, density must also be considered.

    What are the 18 Different Types of Freight Class?

                    Class Name	Cost	Notes, Examples	Weight Range Per Cubic Foot
                    Class 50              Lowest Cost	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	22.5-30 pounds
                    Class 70	 	Car accessories & car parts, food items, automobile engines	15 to 22.5 pounds
                    Class 77.5	 	Tires, bathroom fixtures	13.5 to 15 pounds
                    Class 85	 	Crated machinery, cast iron stoves	12-13.5 pounds
                    Class 92.5	 	Computers, monitors, refridgerators	10.5-12 pounds
                    Class 100	 	boat covers, car covers, canvase, wine cases, caskets	9-10.5 pounds
                    Class 110	 	cabinets, framed artwork, tablesaw	8-9 pounds
                    Class 125	 	Small Household appliances	7-8 pounds
                    Class 150	 	Auto sheetmetal parts, bookcases,	6-7 pounds
                    Class 175	 	Clothing, couches stuffed furniture	5-6 pounds
                    Class 200	 	Auto sheetmetal parts, aircraft parts, aluminum table, packaged matresses,	4-5 pounds
                    Class 250	 	Bamboo furniture, mattress and boxspring, 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            Low Density or High Value	Highest Cost	Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls	Less than 1 lbs