What is an NMFC Code and Why it Matters
In the world of shipping, a National Motor Freight Classification or NMFC code is used to help define and regulate products. In LTL shipping. An NMFC code is an industry-wide method of defining freight.
Not all products are the same, so the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) developed a classification system for every freight type to help ensure fair measures and standardized freight pricing. This classification is an NMFC code. Freight class is based on four primary factors: density, stow-ability, ease of handling, and liability.
Density refers to the amount of space the freight consumes on a trailer relative to its weight. Stow-ability refers to if an item is extra heavy, hazardous or extremely large, it may be difficult to stow on a trailer efficiency, which can raise costs. If freight is especially difficult to handle, it may be placed in a higher class. Additionally, if freight is fragile or perishable and in need of temperature controlled or refrigerated transportation, it may be assigned a higher class.
After taking these four factors into consideration, freight is classified into one of 18 different freight classes. After this is completed, shippers know what it will cost to move the freight. If shippers and carriers fail to determine a freight class or classify freight incorrectly, this can lead to extreme inefficiencies and even dangerous situations.
The 18 freight classes are labeled with a number between 50 and 500, with the most durable and lowest cost freight being classified with a lower number. For example, a Class 50 item means “clean freight” and fits on standard shrink-wrapped 4×4 pallets. On the other end of the spectrum, Class 500 freight is low density or high value. Examples include things like bags of gold dust or ping pong balls.
Each item is then given a number based on all of the NMFC code classification factors. For example, a boat windshield is 25325. It is a complicated equation, but when completed an item has an NMFC code that reflects its shipping efficiency.
Not only is an NMFC code important for shipping freight, they are also important if there is a claim. Learn more about freight insurance at this link.
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