Freight Class – Ultimate Secrets Revealed How To Determine LTL Freight Class

freight class determining classes

What is freight class? Have you ever questioned yourself before starting a trucking company? Freight class is a significant factor in the trucking industry.

To continue with, there are millions of freight type shipments in America and yet there are those who still cannot define its meaning.

The question is: Why do we use freight classes?

Generally speaking, these classes determine the freight into further specific and clear classifications.

To put it in another way, they are useful when you are handling thousands of shipments to clients and customers.

In particular, the above-mentioned statement shows the possible common knowledge of freight classes.

Having said this, some may think that it is not that necessary to be familiar with the class codes. As you will learn more about the industry, you will find the secrets that determine the LTL freight class.

What is Freight Class?

There are millions of people in the United States with jobs in the trucking industry, however, not all are familiar with freight class.

They could be involved in the industry for a decade and they could have some knowledge of the types of freight.

Particularly, I would also mention here the truck drivers which are known as the heroes of the highways.

freight class and types of freight

Notably, the truck drivers would go miles in order to transport the cargo, would take the road challenges without any additional knowledge.

Additionally, they would go through the process of truck driver training and get a CDL license but they would not keep further knowledge of freight.

If you are not among the experienced truck drivers or the professional truckers, the freight class determination is rather confusing.

what is freight class and what you need to know about

There are dozens of fact which at first make it difficult to understand.

However, it is not impossible to acquire.

According to The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC), the freight class determination is similar to the other grading systems available in other industries.

freight class and its determination in trucking companies

On the subject of this, The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) defines the freight in classes.

To emphasize, freight class means establishing the commodity of transportation.

In addition, NMFC is classifying the commodities into classes, and there are 18 of them to be precise.

freight class types

Correspondingly, the 18 classes of freight are determined into further, detailed classification. In particular, the freight classes range from 50 to 500.

To continue with, these freight classes are created in order to help you with your trucking business.

In other words, the classes will help you get standardized pricing for your freight transportation when working with carriers, brokers and warehousing companies.

Things To Keep In Mind About Freight Class

Once you have seen the freight classes, you must assume that you can learn them eventually. You are right, you can.

However, there are things to keep in mind.

The database can be updated by NMFTA at any time. Correspondingly, the determination and classification of particular goods can be changed.

freight class - things to keep in mind

The good thing is, if you happen to have a problem with your shipment and the class codes, you can always contact your freight brokers.

This procedure is made in order to make sure that your shipment will arrive where it needs to, on a budget and on time.

In the worst case, you can contact NMFTA to help you interpret your freight class.

What Factors Go Into Determining Freight Class?

As shown above, the freight classes could be complex. Due to this matter, they are determined by several factors.

In addition, they are determined in order to ease the entire process of classification. More importantly, to ease the shipping for trucking companies.

To emphasize, they are determined by the transportability of the cargo.

freight class - factors that determine it

In addition to the above-mentioned, NMFC characterizes these classes into specific details. In this way, the entire process of freight class could be easily understood.

Those characteristics of the freight are the following:

  • Density
  • Stowability
  • Handling
  • Liability


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All of these characteristics or factors are a crucial part of the freight class. Having said this, you will find out from the definition of each of them as follows:


According to the density, the freight is classified into 50 pounds per cubic. Having said this, there is a further classification of the density, assigned by The Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB).

Notably, the density is classified into 70, 92.5, 175 and 400 freight density, to 15, 10.5, 5 and 1 pound per cubic.

freight class - density

More importantly, the freight which has less density than 1 pound is classified as 500. To put it in another way, the density is actually a space the items preoccupy.

Continually, the item’s volume in cubic goes like this:

Length, Width, and Height

To explain, the density is calculated by dividing the item’s weight in pounds and the item’s volume in cubic feet.

freight class - length width and shape

In order to emphasize the above-mentioned, dimensions are usually measured in inches. Furthermore, the density of the item equals the weight of a volume of your freight.

Continually, the weight is measured in pounds while the volume is measured in cubic.

Stowability – The size and shape of the commodity

Most of the freight is transported by trucks, while the rest is hauled by boats and trains, and all of these types of freight are regulated by policies or the Government.

With regards to cargo loading, there is a certain rule stating that some cargo types are prohibited to mix together. For example, hazardous materials transportation includes a specific way of hauling and is always transported separately due to the flammability.

freight class - stowability

On the other hand, the extreme trucking with excessive weight or length, also makes other freight impossible to load together, and these are the rules everyone obeys.

The stowability classification shows the difficulty and complexity of loading the items which for some trucking companies in the United States create additional charges and need of more fleet.

Ease of Handling – The care needed for the freight

Usually, most of the freight loading involves mechanical equipment and there are no difficulties during the process.



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