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.
Freight classes (there are 18 of them) are based on weight, length and height, density, ease of handling, value and liability from things like theft, damage, break-ability and spoilage. For the most part, the lower the NMFC class number, the lower the freight charge. Part of FML’s job is to help you figure out your NMFC freight class, insuring the specialized code is correct. This insures that you get correct and consistent pricing for your freight. The following table describes the NMFC classes and is meant for general guidance in picking your freight class, a number of factors influence what class your shipment ends up in. You should contact FML Freight Representative to determine an accurate freight class.
Weight Range Per Cubic Foot
Class 50 – Clean Freight
Fits on standard shrink-wrapped 4X4 pallet, very durable
over 50 lbs
Bricks, cement, mortar, hardwood flooring
Car accessories & car parts
Car accessories & car parts, bottled beverages, books in boxes
Car accessories & car parts, food items, automobile engines
15 to 22.5 pounds
Tires, bathroom fixtures
13.5 to 15 pounds
Crated machinery, cast iron stoves
Computers, monitors, refrigerators
boat covers, car covers, canvas, wine cases, caskets
cabinets, framed artwork, table saw
Small Household appliances
Auto sheet metal parts, bookcases,
Clothing, couches stuffed furniture
Auto sheet metal parts, aircraft parts, aluminum table, packaged mattresses,
Bamboo furniture, mattress and box spring, plasma TV
wood cabinets, tables, chairs setup, model boats
Class 500 – Low Density or High Value
Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls
Less than 1 lbs.
Getting it wrong will cost you. If you incorrectly classify your item to be shipped it can be reclassified by the freight carrier. Disputing this is difficult, time consuming and you will be charged the difference (usually without a discount).
A Practical Example to Determine LTL Freight Class
To properly freight class a shipment of 1 pallet of plastic hose (BO528112035PSL), we need to know the pallet dimension and weight. This product ships on a standard pallet that can be double stacked for shipment. The dimensions are 48”Lx40”Wx45.5”H and the weight including pallet is 243.2 lbs. Using the formula shown above (and repeated below with the numbers from our example) we derive a PCF of 4.8 PCF. Therefore using the table above our freight would be NMFC class 51140-4 rated at class 150.
PCF calculation for a full pallet of 32 cartons of BO528112035PSL
Length x width x height = cubic inches (48”x40”x45.5”=87,360 cubic inches)
Divide weight of the packing unit by the volume. (243.2 lbs /50.6 cubic feet = 4.8 pounds per cubic foot)
Again, it is VERY important as a shipper of freight you understand freight class. Getting it wrong will cost you. If you incorrectly classify your item to be shipped it can be reclassified by the freight carrier. Disputing this is difficult, time consuming and you will be charged the difference (usually without a discount).