• An Introduction to Freight Classes

    06/27/2016 — Jerry Spelic

    The first time I was introduced to the concept of a freight class was an eye-opener.  At the time, I was responsible for getting all trade show materials to the show site, including product samples, marketing collateral, and trade show booth. The company where I worked had a 100,000 sf warehouse, trucks inbound and outbound all week long, and a guy who managed the warehouse. He was the one that shipped our trade show materials.

    When we outgrew our booth and needed a new one, we worked with a local trade show exhibit company and had them ship our materials to the show. When our freight invoice arrived after the show, I was floored! It was considerably more than I was used to paying. That was when I learned about freight classes. The warehouse guy always shipped our trade show exhibit Class 50, which is not the correct freight class. It should have been shipped Class 125, which the trade show company did, resulting in higher shipping charges. My lesson: freight class impacts cost.

    Freight class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and is the category of your freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). Your shipment’s freight class determines the carrier’s shipping charges and refers to the size, value and difficulty of transporting your freight.

    Freight classes are designed to standardize pricing, regardless of what carriers, warehouses and brokers with which you work and is determined by weight, length and height, density, stowability, ease of handling, value and liability. There are 18 classes into which a shipment may fall; the lower the product class, the lower the rate per pound. Class 50 rates are the least expensive and Class 500 rates are the most expensive.   

    There is a lot of math that goes into freight class calculations (which we will not cover in depth) but here are some considerations that go into determining your shipment’s class:

    1. Density: The more compact a product is, based on weight, the less space it will take up in a truck. Bricks are much more dense than ping pong balls, so they take up significantly less room per pound and result in a lower freight classification.
    2. Stowability: Most freight stows well, but some items cannot be loaded together, like food and chemicals. Hazardous materials and oversize items also impact stowability.
    3. Handling: Freight is usually loaded with mechanical equipment and creates no handling issues, but weight, shape, fragility or hazardous properties do require special handling.
    4. Liability: Liability is determined by the probability of theft or damage, or damage to adjacent freight. Dynamite has a high amount of liability while books do not.

    Here are some examples of products by freight class:

    It is very important to understand freight classes and ship your materials correctly. Incorrectly classifying your freight can results in additional costs, as freight carriers have the right to inspect and reclassify your shipment. If that happens, guess who pays? You do. It can also slow delivery of your freight and will cause unneeded headaches.

    The bottom line: always correctly identify and classify your freight.

    Freight classes can be complex and confusing. For expert assistance on determining your shipment’s freight class, contact PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or find your freight class online. The freight experts at PartnerShip are here to help!


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  • Tips for Avoiding Freight Reweighs and Reclassifications

    12/11/2014 — Matt Nagel

    Efficiently managing your freight costs is key to keeping your bottom line in tip-top shape. One of the more common ways your freight costs increase is by the reweighing or reclassification of your freight. Carriers have the right to inspect your shipment if they deem necessary and these incidents can trip up even the most experienced shippers.

    When it comes to avoiding reweighs and reclassifications, the best defense is a good offense. Doing your homework on best practices for shipping your freight and closely following these practices will give your freight the best chance of getting to it’s destination without being hit with unexpected charges.

    Below we have some points of emphasis to remember before shipping your freight:

    Know your freight classes: Less-than-truckload Freight Class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and it is the category of your LTL freight as defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). Your shipment's LTL freight class determines the carrier's shipping charges. It identifies the size, value and difficulty of transporting your LTL freight.

    We know determining your freight class is one of the more cumbersome aspects of freight shipping, and that's why we've developed an entire ePaper on the subject, and a helpful Find Your Freight Class' tool for our customers. We ask a few simple questions about your commodity and point you in the right direction.

    Stay up-to-date on industry changes: Like any industry, the freight industry is constantly changing and adapting. For example, NMFC changes evolve to accurately reflect a commodity's “transportability.” The NMFTA will post any changes on their website - regularly reviewing these types of resources will keep you in the know on the important changes that affect your freight.

    Pay close attention to your shipment’s weight: Obviously very important to not being hit with a reweigh is getting it right the first time.

    • All weights on the BOL should be exact weights, not approximations!
    • Remember to include the weight of the pallet and other packaging in the final total weight
    • Have your scales tested and calibrated often – we would recommend annually, but there’s no harm in more frequent fine tuning.

    Work with an experienced partner you can trust: Even after doing your homework and following guidelines, the freight industry can be a complicated world to navigate. Working with a 3PL partner like PartnerShip allows you focus on your company and us to focus on the freight. We have a team of dedicated freight specialists that can guide you to provide accurate shipment information that will avoid reweighs and reclassifications. As a free service, we even audit your freight bills for errors or unnecessary charges that sometimes arise, and we have the industry knowledge to fight to correct any discrepancies.

    Keeping the above tips and advice in mind when shipping your freight will help you stay ahead of the curve and eliminate any unwanted billing surprises. If you have additional questions about reweighs or reclassifications, or would like to learn more about PartnerShip, contact us today at 800-599-2902 or email sales@PartnerShip.com.


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  • NMFC Changes That Could Affect Freight Shipping Rates

    04/05/2012 — Scott Frederick

    The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a standard for thousands of NMFC bookcommodities likely to be shipped by carriers who agree to use this system. Factors such as weight, item type, dimensions, density, and valuation, among others, are used to determine the NMFC. The NMFC identifies what you are shipping and its freight class, which ultimately affects your freight shipping rates.

    Frequent freight shippers and users of the NMFC will want to take note of some changes to the classification system – which will be effective April 14, 2012:

    ITEM

    DESCRIPTION

    18260

    AUTO BODY PARTS – MOVING TO A FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM

    44515

    NEW ITEM FOR FLAMMABLE SOLID, SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE OR DANGEROUS WHEN WET MATERIALS

    80580

    TO INCLUDE THEATER CHAIRS, REVOLVING CHAIRS AND STOOLS-FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM.  CANCELLING ITEMS 80640 AND 80700

    90500

    STONE BLOCKS – ON RACKS (AS A-FRAMES) CLASS 150, SHIPPED FLAT CLASS 55

    109700

    WILL INCLUDE LAMPS, ARTIFICIAL SUNLIGHT, HEATING OR THERAPEUTIC – FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM.  CANCELLING 109460

    114140

    AIR HEATERS – GOING TO A 3 TIER DENSITY

    158880

    TO INCLUDE ALL SINKS – FULL SCALE DENSITY – CANCELLING ALL LAVATORY SINKS AND SINK ITEMS.


    As always, PartnerShip is here to help you determine your commodity's NMFC. Contact us at 800-599-2902 or email select@PartnerShip.com
    with any questions. Our freight experts stand ready to help you with your freight shipping or to provide you with LTL freight quotes if needed.


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