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Getting Freight Class Right

Getting Freight Class Right

Learn how to accurately determine freight class to avoid costly billing adjustments. Understand the factors affecting freight class, use tools like FreightCenter's density calculator, and see real-world examples of common mistakes to ensure your shipments are classified correctly.

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A bungled freight class can skew the price on your invoice, so Getting Freight Class Right is a crucial step for any shipper. A better understanding of freight class and getting freight class exactly right can save you time and money!

What Is Freight Class?

Freight class is a classification system created by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) to standardize freight classification. Shipping commodities are rated and grouped into 18 freight classes between 50 and 500. This rating system ensures established, transparent parameters for how carriers charge their shipping rates and allows shippers to compare shipping costs.

Thousands of commodities are assigned freight classes based on the following four factors:

  • Density: Weight per cubic foot.
  • Stowability: The placement and space required.
  • Handling: The amount of care needed to transport the item safely.
  • Liability: The shipment’s value and the cost to replace in the event of theft, damage, breakage or spoilage.
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We provide competitive freight shipping prices and an all-inclusive, easy-to-use shipping experience for our customers. Exceeding our customers’ expectations results in thousands of satisfied customer reviews and repeat business. We believe in the power of our customer relationships. Check out FreightCenter reviews from real customers, and learn what they have to say about their freight shipping experience!

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What If You Don’t Know Your Shipment’s Freight Class?

FreightCenter provides a freight class lookup tool that includes many frequently shipped items so you can look up the freight class of your cargo. While it cannot provide a complete list, it gives freight class information for some of the most frequently shipped items to get an idea of a shipment’s freight class. While this is a tool, it should only be used as a guide, and we encourage you to confirm your class with one of our shipping experts before finalizing to avoid misclassification.

To obtain an accurate freight class, contact a shipping agent who has the ability and the resources to look up specific freight class and sub-class details for every type of commodity.  Again, an experienced shipping agent or 3PL should be your final check on freight class before booking your shipment.

Some items are not classified by an NMFC number at all. When this happens, these items fall into a general category called NOI, Not Otherwise Indicated. When NOI is noted, freight class is determined by density.

Freight Class Density Calculator

Fortunately, FreightCenter’s freight class density calculator makes it easy for shippers to determine the suggested freight class by cargo density. It uses your shipment’s length, width, height, and weight to determine its density.

There are occasions when multiple items with different freight classes are packaged together. Some carriers use the highest freight class in the shipment, while others determine freight class by density. There is no way for you to know which carrier uses which method. That’s when you can count on your shipping agent or 3PL to help you get the freight class right.

Even with all this help, incorrect freight class is one of the top reasons for billing adjustments among shippers due to incorrect information being input into the tool. By examining three recent billing adjustments for freight class, we can point out what went wrong and how you can prevent making the same mistakes.

Finely-tailored freight solutions

To create value for our customers by delivering customized shipping solutions that meet their unique needs and to fulfill shipping demands from simple to complex with expertise, guidance and ingenuity.

LTL Shipping

LTL shipping involves combining multiple small shipments from different customers onto one truck, allowing each customer to share the shipment cost. Trust the experts at FreightCenter to give you the best prices and the most comprehensive options for all your LTL freight shipping needs.

Full Truckload

Truckload shipping, also known as full truckload (FTL), is a transportation option for freight that requires the entire trucks trailer space. Unlike LTL shipping, FTL shipping is reserved for larger commodities that exceed LTL weight and size limits, typically weighing more than 20,000 pounds or having dimensions that exceed 12 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8 feet in height. We deliver optimized solutions for full or partial truckloads and competitive dry van, flatbed, and refrigerated freight pricing. We can cover your full truckload shipping needs.

Expedited Service

Nationwide Expedited Trucking services move your freight securely and rapidly. Your freight requires fast delivery; our freight shipping experts can get your shipment fast, whether in one large box or a full truckload.

Specialized Freight Shipping

Specialized is a transportation option for items that require specialized handling, equipment, or shipping conditions. Specialized shipments may include high-value cargo, oversized cargo, or cargo that require temperature-controlled transportation. The most reliable Specialized Freight Services rates from all the top carriers are just a few steps away. From white glove service to international shipping, we've got you covered.

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You Can’t Beat the Carrier’s Technology

You’ve probably picked up on a theme here. Being inaccurate in your measurements or guessing the weight can be an expensive mistake. In all three of these examples, the billing adjustment was due to the shipper not providing accurate measurements and weight. Making your best guess isn’t good enough.

Today’s carriers employ technology that makes them exact on all their figures. Forklifts have built-in digital scales, and every piece of cargo is weighed. As for the width, length, and height of your shipment, carriers use industry-specific measuring devices that incorporate lasers and computers to instantly report your cargo’s accurate measurements. There is no way to get around the carrier’s technology. It would help if you were correct.