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The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) has 18 different freight codes, all of which determine shipping costs for different types of Less than Container Load (LCL) freight shipping. These freight codes don’t simply depend on weight and volume, though. They also depend on how fragile the item is and how valuable it is.

Freight classes range from Class 50 to Class 500, with Class 50 being the cheapest per pound. Determining your exact freight code is tricky, and you should ask a freight forwarder to assess your freight and help you plan the next steps. Here’s a basic overview of various freight code criteria so you can estimate yours for yourself.

Weight and Volume

The primary consideration for freight classification is the density calculation or the weight divided by cubic feet. High-volume and low-weight goods can actually cost a lot to ship because they take up a lot of space in shipping containers. Although not all NMFC classifications depend on shipment density, some do.

The highest NMFC class, Class 500, includes these very-low-density shipments. This class may include products like ping pong balls or bubble wrap.

On the opposite end of the scale, Class 50 freight is for shipments that are very heavy and weigh at least 50 pounds per cubic foot, including pallets. This class costs less to ship per pound because the product fits into a small area. However, Class 50 freight is subject to value restrictions and cannot be fragile.

Special Handling Requirements

Any goods that require special handling or storage are subject to categorization in more expensive freight classes. Flammable or otherwise hazardous materials, for example, will be classified at a higher cost class than other items of similar density.

Items that cannot be loaded by machine or are subject to special handling restrictions will also be charged at a higher class rate. This may include boxes that must be kept right side up, or that cannot have other boxes on top of them. Although non-palletized goods aren’t necessarily subject to classification at the highest levels, they are also usually ineligible for the cheapest freight classes.

Dollar Value

The final criterion for deciding class is the value of the shipment. Very high-value goods, like jewelry or gold, will be subject to higher freight classifications even if they have high freight density. Normal household goods can fall into a range of classifications ranging from 50 to 400.

Getting an Accurate Classification

Whether you’re shipping bricks or bubble wrap, Asiana USA can answer all your questions about freight forwarding and classifications. We can use our freight classification calculator to give you a quote and help you decide the best shipping options for your goods. Contact us today at (855) 500-1808 to learn more about shipping solutions for you.

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