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How Freight Classes Are Determined

How Freight Classes Are Determined

How Freight Classes Are Determined

There is special software available to use on how to determine your freight class.  Two of the most used software is Fast Class, and the other one is ClassIT.  All of the specifications come from The National Motor Freight Traffic Association website (NMFTA).  It also contains the National Motor Freight Classification book (NMFC), which is used to find out how freight classes are determined.  With a little time, the booklet can easily be downloaded to find all the information needed. 

Determining Freight Classes

There are four different characteristics used in how to determine your freight class.  They are as follows: liability, the handling requirements, the density in terms of the height, and how easy or difficult it is to stow the freight.  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.

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

To find the density of the freight, you would divide the weight of what is being shipped by the volume.  Everything is in pounds, and the volume of the cargo is measured in cubic feet. This 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 gives an idea if the cargo can be stored safely and tucked away in a shipping container, rather than just being placed on the truck or trailer.  Anything square and rectangle can be stored easily, quickly, and it stacks better. Items like hazardous materials cannot be stored with just anything. They must be stored with the regulations in mind.  Other items may be awkward and not as easy to load or stack, which can take up more space.

Factors Are Vital

Looking at all of these factors, it is easy to see how freight classes are determined.  Each one of these factors is vital to every step of the load planner, and with a great team put together, everything can and will be run smoothly.  There are none of the factors that are more important than the other. They all tie in together with logistics. 


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