How to Find Freight Class
3 easy steps to calculate the weight density and freight class
- Measure the height, width, and depth of the shipment. When taking these measurements you must include the entire handling unit meaning you must include the pallets or other packaging in your measurements. (On shipments with multiple pieces, repeat this step for each piece).
- Multiply (height x width x depth). Multiplying these will give you the total cubic inches of the shipment. If you have multiple pieces, multiply the height x width x depth for each piece. Take the results for each piece and add them together to get the total cubic inches Once you get your total cubic inches, you must convert this to cubic feet. This is easily done by simply, dividing the total cubic inches by 1,728. NOTE: the 1728 variable comes from there are 1768 cubic inches 1 cubic ft. ie. 12x12x12 = 1728.
- Then, divide the weight (in pounds) of the shipment by the total cubic feet. Doing this will give you the pounds per cubic foot, or weight density. Don’t forget that if you have multiple pieces, you must add the weight of each piece together before dividing by the total cubic feet of the shipment.
The biggest challenge for all shippers is understanding the freight class of what you are shipping. FreightCenter offers tools and expertise to find your shipment’s freight class.
Freight class is a standardized classification system for commodities transported via LTL freight shipping. It is used by carriers for pricing freight rates and formulating the cost to ship your freight.
The classification system also ensures that customers receive an unbiased price when shipping freight. Freight class is assigned to a shipment based on either the specific commodity being transported or the total density of the freight being shipped.
Factors that Determine Your Freight’s Class
Four transportation characteristics determine freight class:
- Stowability – Stowability takes into account how your freight can be transported with other commodities. Freight that is flammable, perishable, or hazardous is regulated and can’t be shipped with certain materials. When thinking about stow-ability, consider how your freight is packaged. Items that are crated or boxed are usually stackable and easier to pack inside a cargo container or truck.
- Liability – Liability refers to the value of a commodity, the likelihood of theft or damage, and the probability of the item causing damage to other freight during shipping. Possessing a greater risk will result in a higher freight class.
- Ease of handling – When classifying freight, the level of care needed during shipping is taken into consideration. If the item is fragile, requires special attention, or has hazardous properties it will fit into a higher class and increase the shipping cost. Size, weight, and shape also contribute to freight class.
- Density – Density, or pounds per cubic foot, is the measurable amount of space needed for an item. Commodities that are compact and have a higher density fall into a lower class and are cheaper to ship than bulky items. Use our freight density calculator to find the density of your freight.
The freight class of the items you are transporting is a major factor in determining the cost of your freight shipment. There are 18 freight classes – ranging from 50 (the least expensive) to 500 (the most expensive).
Items high in density (heavy and compact) and less susceptible to damage are given a lower freight class. Things that are low in density and more vulnerable to damage are given a higher freight class. You can use our freight class lookup tool or freight class calculator to view the freight class of other commonly shipped items.Get a Freight Quote
Freight Class vs Density-Based Shipping
Density is used for shipping objects that vary in size or when the number of items shipped varies from shipment to shipment.
For example, commodities such as wooden tables and clothing are classified simply by density.
- Wooden tables are considered density-based because there is no one standard size for tables. The shipper could be shipping small coffee or large dining room tables; therefore, it is more accurate to use density.
- Clothing is shipped using density because the shipper could transport 500 pounds or a ton. These shipments are based on density because the NMFC code is insufficient to determine the freight class.
A freight class or NMFC number does not classify some items. These items fall into a category called Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI). In these exceptional cases, the freight class is based on density. If your product has a density-based freight class or is considered NOI, you can use our NOI calculator to estimate its freight class.
You can use our freight density calculator to determine the density of your shipment.
What if You Don’t Know Your Shipment’s Freight Class?
If you aren’t sure about your freight shipment’s freight class, follow these steps:
- Use our freight class lookup or freight class calculator tool to find your item’s freight class based on stowability, liability, ease of handling, and density.
- Calculate your freight density with our Freight Class/Density calculator.
- Call 800.716.7608 to speak with a FreightCenter Freight Agent.
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