Make Sure to Pay Attention to Freight Shipping Classes!

Freight shipments come in all sizes and types. They have to pass through multiple warehouses and carriers. So, freight classes were created to put freights into their proper classes.

Freight classes are divided based on the freight’s size, weight, density, price and ease of handling. This way different carriers and warehouses around the world can understand the freights they are handling better.

There is a crucial reason why freight classes were created. A single freight shipment must pass through the hands of many carriers and warehouses. Often times these different warehouses and carriers don’t communicate with each other every time they transfer a product. So this is why there needs to be a standard system for identify and classify freight shipments.

Without freight classes there would be chaos every time a carrier or warehouse receives a new shipment. Staffs will waste time identifying each shipment and shipments may be damaged or lost without the freight classes system.


We know the freight classes are crucial but just how do they work? So there are 18 freight classes recognized by the NMFTA which stands for the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. These classes are based on the shipment’s size, weight and value.

So for example, a framed artwork shipping from New York city to London would be put in class 110 based on it’s density. This can be determined by using a freight class calculator. Warehouses both in New York and London and all the carriers would be informed that the artwork is a class 110 freight shipment and they can arrange storage and transport based on the company’s procedures for class 110 shipments. This way the artwork can be seamlessly transferred between warehouses and carriers without unnecessary damage or delay. 

Freight classes are classified by density. This can be calculated by dividing the weight with the volume. Volume can be calculated by multiplying the length, width and height of the package. So a package 1 foot long, 2 foot wide and 3 foot tall would have a volume of 6 cubic feet (1x2x3=6). There are a total of 18 classes with class 50 being the heaviest and class 500 being the lightest by density. The higher class numbers are often associated with lightweight products with high values. These may be rare items like deer antlers or handcrafted items like artworks. 

Freight classes are also classified based on liability, fragility and their special qualities like flamability in the NMFC code. The NMFC code is a number or code given to products and parts of all kinds to be used for identification and classification purposes.

The NMFC code is widely used by carriers and warehouses to identify a product. With just a scan or a dial in of the code, carriers and warehouses can immediately know the freight classes and details of the shipments they are handling with.

In conclusion, freight classes are used to classify different freight shipments that need to pass through multiple places. Freight classes help carriers and warehouses identify and manage their shipments efficiently. Many qualities like density, liability and ease of handling are taken into account when classifying freight shipments.