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One of the most confusing aspect of shipping freight with less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers is properly identifying the NMFC Class ("Class") of your commodity. This guide will step you through the importance of properly classifying your freight, how Class is determined and the effect of Class on your shipping cost.
Short for the National Motor Freight Classification, the NMFC is a pricing tool that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 Classes - from a low of Class 50 to a high of Class 500 - based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s "transportability." As mandated by the Surface Transportation Board of the U. S. Department of Transportation, all commodities are evaluated on the basis of these four transportation characteristics and ONLY on the basis of those four characteristics.
The only correct and proper way to find the Class of your commodity is to look it up in the NMFC guide published by the NMFTA. However, since most shippers deal with only a handful of products, or types of products, it may not be necessary for you to purchase such guide. We provide tools to help you find and manage Classes.
As the name implies, our density calculator provides estimated Classes based solely on the density of your commodity. Other factors may effect the Class (mainly stowability, handling and liability). Rate quotes based on the results provided by this calculator are not guaranteed and may be subject to adjustments by the carrier.
We have a staff dedicated to the task of finding the correct Class of your commodity. Simply fill out this form and provide a detailed description of the commodity, and we will promptly get back to you with the Class rating.
A way for you to save a list of commodities and their Classes for future retrieval.
There are eighteen recognized Class ratings: 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 77.5, 85, 92.5, 100, 110, 125, 150, 175, 200, 250, 300, 400 and 500.
Note: 77.5 is sometimes denoted as 77, and 92.5 as 92. For all practical purposes, they are equivalent.
Carriers must handle hundred (or even thousands) of different commodities every day, each with different characteristics. One hundred pounds of pillows takes up a lot more room than one hundred pounds of books. If the NMFC did not exist and all rates were based solely on weight, carriers would be relunctant, or may even downright refuse, to ship the pillows simply because they would take up too much space.
Generally, the lower the Class rating, the lower the rate (per pound). Thus, assuming two commodities of equal weight, a commodity rated at Class 50 will generally cost less to ship than one that is rated at Class 100.
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