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Clarifying Freight Class Confusion

Clarifying Freight Class Confusion

We know how confusing it can be to understand and navigate the freight class system for different loads. Our team put together a summary of information and answers to common questions we receive to help clarify the freight class confusion for our customers.

Freight Class Overview

Two of the most commonly used software for determining freight class are FastClass and ClassIT, which gather their specifications from The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) and the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC).


The freight class has a grading system that groups the commodities into 18 different categories. Those classes range from fifty to five hundred; the closer to fifty the shipment is, the lesser the price will be to haul.


Often, there’s not much you can do to reduce your class number, simply because of what you’re transporting. Your products are predetermined so that car accessories will be lower class than wood cabinets, tables, and other items simply because of size and weight.


Determining Freight Classes

There are four different characteristics used to determine your freight class: liability, the handling requirements, the density in terms of the height, and the level of difficulty for stowing the freight. 


1. Liability

Liability is better known as insurance and deals with how much the load is worth.  Anything can happen to the load when in transit. Accidents, weather damage, faulty tie-down damage, or any errors on the driver’s part can cause damage to the shipment, which would leave the freight company responsible for the load.  Liability ensures the customer will get the load one way or another, and it protects the freight company from out-of-pocket costs. Some of the freights can be as high as millions of dollars.         

2. Handling

Handling and care are vital to any load.  When the load is shipped, the primary objective after safety is getting the load to its destination in one piece.  Some shipments may have to be stored upright or just handled with care due to fragile cargo. With the “Handle with Care” in mind, it may take more time to load.  With time comes more money.

3. Density

The freight density can be found by dividing the weight by the volume of the shipment. Everything is in pounds, and the volume of the cargo is measured in cubic feet. This formula would help paint a picture for anyone by saying a bag of rocks is denser than a bag of feathers.

4. Stow Ability

The stow ability estimates if the cargo can be stored safely and tucked away in a shipping container, rather than just placed on the truck or trailer.  Anything square and rectangle can be stored easily, quickly, and stacks better. Any hazardous materials must be stored carefully with the regulations in mind. Other items may be awkward and not as easy to load or stack, taking up more space.


The best way to find out your freight class is to call Royal Transportation Services. Once you tell us more about your shipping, we can narrow it down and put you into a particular NMFC code. Additionally, if you’re not the original manufacturer of the shipping item, you can call the manufacturer to determine the code for their products. This way, you can relay the code to us to provide you with more accurate transportation quotes. 


Why Are Freight Classes Important?

The freight classes have been in place for a while as they make it easier to find the freight carrier who can best accommodate your load. Whether you’re choosing LTL or FTL trucking, the freight class has to be known. It will be included on the bill of lading and make it easier to find your business’s best transportation methods.


If you get the freight class wrong, it can slow down your shipment and make it harder to get your products to the destination because of freight carrier changes. RTS will make sure the correct class is determined the first time around.


Given all of these factors, it is easy to see how freight classes are determined. Each of these factors is vital to every step of the load planner, and with a great team, everything can run smoothly. No factor is more important than the other; they all tie in together with logistics.


How RTS Can Help

When you need reliable transportation for your goods, it’s essential to understand the different freight classes. At Royal Transportation Services, we’re here to simplify the process. Once we know more about your shipping, we can determine the correct freight class, which will help identify the freight charge and your various transportation options.


You don’t have to know your freight class when you call to get a quote – that’s why we’re here to help!


With the help of our logistics team members, we’ll manage every aspect of your transportation needs. We can identify the freight class and explore the most cost-effective solutions to ensure your goods get to where they need to be in a timely fashion every time.


If you want help determining your freight class or need a transportation quote, contact us for information today.


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