If you’re not taking advantage of how freight class can lower your shipping rates, you should. Your competitors are, that’s a fact! Freight classes were introduced to provide both shippers and carriers a way to establish standards on which to base pricing.

freight class

So What’s a Freight Class?

Freight classes were designed by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), which groups thousands of products into 18 classes, from class 50, the densest, to the lightest, class 500. All of these classes are grouped into the NMFTA tariff.

The freight class is determined by several factors, namely: weight, dimension, density, storability, ease of handling, shipment valuation and the likelihood of theft or liability.

What Factors affect Class?

As stated, the classes range from class 50 to 500. Class 500 being the lightest and most expensive in the range and being the class that is the most likely to be damaged in transit due to its fragile nature.

Valuation and density are important with regards to class. You cannot expect to pay the same rate for a shipment that weighs 500 lbs. but takes up 10 feet of a trailer than a comparable shipment in weight that only occupies 4 feet. Nor would you expect a shipment that is fragile, which must be handled with care, to be rated in the same manner as a skid of nuts and bolts.

Storability must be accounted for as well

How easily stowed an item is with other shipments will also affect the rate of your shipment and therefore, its class. If your item is classified as HAZMAT (hazardous material), or is of an odd shape or even extremely heavy, this will affect your classification within the NMFTA.

Potential Liability

The potential loss of cargo through theft or damage via handling is another aspect that each class takes into consideration. Its perishability during transit will also affect the class of your product.

The future of density based tariff     

Recently, one should take note that due to the current climate in the shipping industry (supply/demand), its inability to attract good drivers without increasing pay rates, the continual barrage of government intrusion with diminished hours of service, as well as the potential of electronic black boxes in each truck replacing driver log books, more and more carriers will be implementing density based rating solely, instead of the current NMFTA classification system. FedEx has implemented it and UPS are using it on a voluntary basis for now, with implementation later this year. 

The implementation of using this density based pricing system alone will contribute 550 million dollars to their bottom lines. That’s one mother of a price increase. 

If you require additional information or further help on the use of classification or density based rating, you can call us here at Skyfer Logistic at 1-888-502-1395 or just click here.