Freight Class & NMFC Code for Freight Shipping
What is freight class?
[Updated June 2023]
Freight class is assigned to all Less than Truckload (LTL) freight, shipping within the USA or across the USA/Canadian border. Most US carriers have NMFC-based pricing which makes finding the correct class for your shipment extremely important.
A class can be based on the particular NMFC code of the product, or on the shipment density. There are 18 classes ranging from 50 to 500, according to the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) system.
Freight class is used to help carriers determine pricing for all kinds of different products and materials, based on their common traits. In general, the higher the class, the more fragile your cargo is likely to be. That means, the greater the expense to ship.
What is an NMFC code?
Most US carriers rate shipments using an NMFC code, which catalogs commodities according to:
- Weight and size
- Density: Weight of your shipment per cubic foot – see calculator below
- Stowability: How the freight fits into the regular dimensions
- Assembly: Whether it is shipped in parts (Knocked Down) or already assembled (Set-Up)
- Ease of handling: How fragile is it, or if it requires special handling instructions
- Liability: Value of the product, associated with risk of theft and damage
A commodity’s NMFC code is often combined with its density to produce a freight class. Typically, commodities with a lower density are lighter (feathers and mattresses) and/or more fragile (lightbulbs) which places them in a higher class. Higher density items (bricks or rebar) are less fragile and heavier, therefore are in a lower class.
Do you need freight class and NMFC code when shipping freight in Canada?
As opposed to the class-based rating system of USA-based carriers, shipping rates with Canadian-based carriers are determined according to dimensional weight, otherwise known as cubic weight. Cubic weight is determined from the dimensions of a shipment and is rated according to the cubic size of a shipment or the number of skids a shipment takes up in the back of a truck. This rating system does not follow the NMFC index.
How does all this apply to your shipment?
To get an accurate quote on our quoting page, you need to enter the correct class for all USA and USA/Canada cross-border shipments. You also have to include the correct NMFC code on the booking page (which is then automatically added to your Freightera Bill of Lading), to prevent any shipment inspections, reclassifications, and extra charges on the carriers’ side, which may significantly impact your final shipping price.
Additionally, the delivery may be postponed due to an inspection, and more information regarding the description of commodities may be requested. Carriers’ specific methods of reclassification and rerating are outlined in their rules tariffs, which are available on some carrier websites, or by asking a Freightera representative.
How to find the right class and NMFC code?
Although we cannot legally distribute the NMFC index on our website, we can provide some suggestions for obtaining this information:
- You can use our Freight Density Calculator and Freight Class Calculator for reference, however, if you don’t already know the exact class we recommend that you contact us directly with your product information (what the product is, what it’s used for, what it’s made of, as well as the dimensions and weight), and we’ll provide you with the right class and NMFC code.
- You can call us at 1800 886 4870 ext 1, email us at [email protected], or chat with us on our website for the most accurate information
- Contact your supplier or freight broker for spec sheets or classification questions
- Ask someone you know who has access to the NMFC catalog
- Purchase an NMFTA membership and enroll in one of their training programs to understand NMFC rules and where to get assistance with classification questions
- Subscribe to ClassIT, an online NMFC publication
In summary, to minimize delays and additional expenses resulting from the reclassification of your commodity, use accurate freight classes and NMFC codes and be sure to include them when getting a quote, as well as on your Freightera BOL at pickup. Taking these precautions will greatly optimize invoice accuracy and your Freightera shipping experience!
Freightera offers competitive freight quotes for both American and Canadian-based shipments! Go to Freightera.com to compare instant freight shipping quotes for LTL and FTL shipments in Canada, the USA, and cross-border.