Logistics companies use the National Motor Freight Traffic Association’s freight class rules to determine the cost of a shipment. Put simply, this classification determines how easy freight will be to ship. Ease of shipping involves multiple factors which can get confusing for shippers who only have experience sending certain types of goods. We want to take this article to break down freight class and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this important industry regulation.
Why is Freight Class Important?
Freight class may seem like an additional step in the shipping process, but it does a lot of good for shippers and carriers alike. By designating freight classes, carriers are led to charge standardized costs. This means that by selecting the proper freight class, you won’t be overcharged for your shipment through one carrier over another. In other words, standardized freight classes keep shipping costs fair across the industry. This also means that you know the cost of your shipment upfront and won’t have to contend with additional charges when your freight is weighed and assessed at a warehouse, border crossing, or any other stopping point.
How Is Freight Class Determined?
There are 18 freight classes, numbered between 15 and 500. The biggest consideration is freight density. Typically, the higher the density, the lower the freight class and resulting cost. This is because smaller, heavier packages are typically easier to ship than large, bulky ones. The next factor is stowability. Is the item fully assembled and hard to stack, or is it flat and square? Then comes handling and liability. Is the item fragile, expensive, or considered dangerous goods? These specific designations allow carriers to carry out the correct processes in transporting your freight.
How Do I Know My Freight Class?
The most common question we get from our clients is how they can determine their freight class for their goods. The good news is that all third-party logistics companies have a working knowledge of NMFTAs guidelines, including freight classes. Your chosen provider can help you figure out exactly which class your shipment falls into. To start you can use an online calculator to give you a rough idea of what your freight class may be. Keep in mind, however, that these calculators typically work off of density, and can not take into consideration the other factors we mentioned above. Use these tools as a starting point and confirm the actual freight class with your logistics provider.
Freight classes keep shipping costs transparent and competitive for shippers. Work with your chosen logistics company to determine your freight class and maintain an efficient supply chain. If you’re looking for a reputable carrier, our team at Loadsafe Crossborder can help! Contact us today for a quote!