Estimated freight classes of commonly shipped goods.

logistics warehouse freight classes blog post

Freight class - one of those things you must know when shipping LTL freight. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) organized a system of groupings that include freight classes and their definitions to provide shippers and carriers with a practical and standardized means to base rates for shipments.

You don't want to skip this step in the shipping process. Reclassified freight can be costly.

So, it's important to correctly assign freight class, but it can be tricky. The class may vary based on the product being shipped, or even on different shipments of the same product. To help shippers tackle this part of the shipping process, we will go over density, how to calculate freight class using a freight density calculator, provide freight considerations and look at some commonly shipped goods.


Freight density.

Freight density is the product's weight per cubic foot. Generally, a shipment with a lower density has a higher freight classification. It's worth it to make sure this figure is accurate. A little extra time and effort up front can potentially save you time and money later.

Using a freight density calculator, you can easily plug in the length, width, height and weight to get density and the recommended class.


Freight class considerations.

While certain freight elements are pretty straight forward, there are other things to keep in mind when classifying your shipment.

Special Cases.

Specific items of clothing are known as a named item within the NMFC guidelines and have their own independent number and class.


Condensed freight can result in a higher density and the item could even move from one class to another, resulting in a reduced rate. Surprisingly, this is one situation where more weight can lower the class and reduce the shipping rate.


Items that are more difficult to store with other freight in the same trailer can result in higher freight class, like hazardous materials, bulky items, over length products or things regulated by the government.


The more fragile the object, the higher the freight class.


What is the freight class of ... ?

Here's a quick chart that outlines a few commonly shipped goods and their suggested freight classes. While these are within NMFTA guidelines, these figures are estimates, can vary based on pounds per cubic foot and even change. Again - freight class is tricky.

Commonly Shipped Item Class Based On Weight Range Per Cubic Foot Of
Garment Hangers 400 Less than 1 lb.
Steel or Wood Pallets 175 4 but less than 6 lbs.
Envelopes 70 Not applicable to this product
Restaurant Cooking Equipment 250 2 but less than 4 lbs.
Automotive Transmission 85 Not applicable to this product
Crated Machinery 92.5 10 but less than 12lbs.
Ceramic Tile 60 Not applicable to this product


Final thoughts.

The class of freight plays a major role in calculating how much a carrier can charge you for transporting it. Getting familiar with the characteristics of freight is important since wrongfully assigning it can cost shippers both time and money. Freightquote by C.H. Robinson's density calculator can help shippers get the most accurate freight class.


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