To determine which NMFC class one’s shipment falls under, he or she must first calculate the freight class codes. By doing this, buyers and sellers can estimate their freight shipping costs with greater accuracy and ultimately improve their bottom lines. When it comes to freight class calculations and shipment preparations, there are various important details to keep in mind:
An Overview of Freight Class Factors
- Density: This is the measurable amount of space your freight takes up (measured by pound per cubic foot). Oftentimes, it is used to determine one’s freight class code and freight shipping cost.
- Ease of handling: This indicates if one’s shipment requires special attention, is hazardous or fragile, and is easy or difficult to handle.
- Liability: High value commodities and freight often belong to a higher freight class because of the increased risks of theft and/or damage.
- Stowability: Is your freight stackable, hazardous, flammable, or perishable? These factors often determine if your goods can be shipped with other materials. This, however, depends on the regulations that apply to each case.
How to Calculate Freight Class
Now that you have a basic understanding of freight class, below are the important steps to take when calculating freight class:
- Measure the depth, width, and height of each item in the shipment (make sure that you are measuring to the farthest points as well).
- Multiply the three measurements to acquire the total cubic inches of the shipment (height x width x depth). If you are shipping multiple items, repeat the step for each item and then add everything up at the end.
- Calculate the cubic feet of the shipment by dividing the total cubic inches by 1,728.
- Finally, calculate the density of the shipment (pounds per cubic foot) by dividing the shipment’s weight (in pounds) by the total cubic feet. If you are shipping multiple items, remember to first add the weight of each piece together before dividing.
Why are Freight Class Calculations Important?
Also known as NMFC (National Motor Freight Class) codes, freight class codes are a set of standardized freight pricing that ensures fair practices within the freight industry. These codes often come in handy when you are shipping freight that is considered less-than-truckload (LTL). In addition, NMFC codes determine the transportability of your shipment and how much fees you have to pay.
Reducing Freight Class Shipping Charges
Since density is the main factor that is considered during freight shipping, it is a good idea to keep your dimensional weight low. This means that your shipment should take up as little space as possible on the truck to lower freight classification and increase cost savings. Another method is to accurately classify what you are shipping so that your company does not incur additional costs from classification errors.
If you are using a pallet or crate for your shipment, be sure to factor the weight of the packaging when calculating the weight of the shipment. This is important as packing materials can greatly affect the final weight of the shipment, its shipping class code, and cost.