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Freight Class Calculator for Shipping

by John Rediehs on October 8, 2016 7 comments


In the world of third-party logistics, the concept of freight class is one you hear about nearly constantly. When it comes to LTL shipments, the amount it will cost to ship something is largely dependent on what freight class the shipment belongs in, and calculating the freight class is done by analyzing a number of different factors.

If you’re not sure how to determine freight class, or are unfamiliar with the concept itself, here’s a brief guide to help you understand how to calculate and determine it.

Freight Classification

Determining freight class is a vital step for effectively managing your LTL budget, and it also helps you with organization. Learning more about freight classifications is a necessary step when you’re planning your shipments.

Instead of choosing one “catch-all” class for your freight, you could be saving money by ensuring your freight is shipping at a more specific class rate. However, determining the class of your freight could get tricky if you’re unfamiliar with the many different types of classes.

There are several ways to figure out your freight’s class and decide on the appropriate shipping methods.

What Is a Freight Class?

Freight classes are designed to help standardize pricing for freight shipment when working with different carriers, warehouses, and brokers. The classes are defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), and they’re separated based on factors like commodity or type of product.

freight calculator

These classes are categorized by the National Motor Freight Classification system, a standardized method designed to give consumers a uniform, easy-to-understand pricing structure for transporting freight.

The NMFC system assigns a number to an item of freight, and that number is important to freight carriers when determining tariffs to charge, which in turn affects the price charged to the customer. There are 18 different freight classes to learn about, which can have a potentially large effect on your shipment’s requirements, including pricing.

What Factors Decide the Freight Class?

Freight class calculation is based on things like weight/length/height, density, each of handling, liability from things like theft, damage, breakability and spoilage, and value. Comparing shipping costs is important to find the best class for your goods as well.

After a thorough comparison, you can determine which type of class is ideal for your products, and keep the shipping process affordable at all times.

How to Determine Your Freight Class

  1. Get the weight, height, and length of the shipment.
  2. Calculate the density of the shipment.
  3. Divide the weight in pounds by volume in cubic feet.
  4. Find your class in the calculator chart below.

Weight, Length, and Height

The density of freight is determined by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by its volume in cubic feet. Freight that is less dense than one pound per cubic foot is classified as 500. Other weight classifications for densities of 15, 1.5, 5, and one pound per cubic foot are 70, 92.5, 175, and 400, respectively.

shipping class calculator

Storage Ability

Freight is also classed based on the ability for it to be stored, or the stow-ability of the shipment. Most freight stows well in trucks, trains, and ships, however, some things need to be stowed somewhere else for certain reasons.

For instance, excessive weight, length, or protrusions can prohibit the freight from being loaded with other freight. The difficulty of stow-ability will factor into the classification of the freight. Our calculator can help with this.

Handling/How the Freight Must Be Loaded

Another factor that influences classification is how the freight is loaded. Most freight is loaded with mechanical equipment and isn’t difficult to load, however some shipments do require special attention. Classifications will correlate to the difficulty of loading the freight.

reddog-instant-freight-quote

Liability of Being Stolen or Damaged

Classification will also depend on the probability that freight can be damaged or stolen, as well as probability of freight damaging adjacent freight. Perishable cargo, as well as cargo that is prone to spontaneous combustion, will be assigned a value per pound, and the carrier is liable for a fraction of that.

This is the best way to balance accountability and make sure that freight is transported safely and efficiently, protecting valuable products from damage throughout shipping and transportation.

fedex freight class estimator

How to Use a Freight Class Calculator

Shippers can determine the freight class of an LTL load in a few different ways. First, they can look at the NMFC book, which is located here. Alternatively, shippers can use a program such as ClassIT or Fast Class.

To use those programs, you will need to know the size and dimension of the pallet, and whether the pallet is a standard size. You’ll find that most of these programs include a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to input the necessary data into the calculator. You won’t need to spend too much time identifying your freight’s class.

Learning More About the Various Classes: Calculator

There are, as mentioned, 18 different freight classes, which you should be familiar with to receive an accurate estimate for your freight. This table tells you more about the various classes:

Class Name:               Examples:                     Weight Range Per Cu. Ft:

(Lowest Cost)

Class 55 Bricks, cement, mortar, hardwood flooring 35-50 pounds
Class 60 Car accessories & car parts 30-35 pounds
Class 65 Car accessories & car parts, bottled beverages, books in boxes 22.5-30 pounds
Class 70 Car accessories & car parts, food items, automobile engines 15 to 22.5 pounds
Class 77.5 Tires, bathroom fixtures 13.5 to 15 pounds
Class 85 Crated machinery, cast iron stoves 12-13.5 pounds
Class 92.5 Computers, monitors, refrigerators 10.5-12 pounds
Class 100 Boat covers, car covers, canvases, wine cases, caskets 9-10.5 pounds
Class 110 Cabinets, framed artwork, table saw 8-9 pounds
Class 125 Small household appliances 7-8 pounds
Class 150 Auto sheet metal parts, bookcases, 6-7 pounds
Class 175 Clothing, couches stuffed furniture 5-6 pounds
Class 200 Auto sheet metal parts, aircraft parts, aluminum table, packaged mattresses, 4-5 pounds
Class 250 Bamboo furniture, mattresses and box springs, plasma TVs 3-4 pounds
Class 300 Wood cabinets, tables, chairs setup, model boats 2-3 pounds
Class 400 Deer antlers 1-2 pounds
Class 500 Bags of gold dust, ping pong balls Less than 1 pound

(Highest Cost)

(Table Source)

Freight Class Codes

To learn more about freight class determination for your LTL shipments, contact us at Red Dog Logistics today—we’re happy to help you figure out what the most cost-effective option is for your freight.

We make it easy for you to gauge the pricing of your shipments based on the classification as determined by a freight class calculator for shipments. At Red Dog Logistics, our goal is to make the shipping process easy and inexpensive. Call us today 888.906.3622.

reddog-instant-freight-quote

John RediehsFreight Class Calculator for Shipping

7 comments

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  • Robin - April 9, 2016 reply

    Thanks for helping me decide what class to choose.

  • Jake Watson - April 18, 2016 reply

    So it looks like if I need to ship a few couches I would need class 175.

  • Chuck - May 1, 2016 reply

    Looks like a freight class calculator can benefit the freight handling business and their consumers and solve questions.

  • steve barrios - May 9, 2016 reply

    I didn’t realize that the shipping calculator classification would depend on if the freight is damaged or stolen.

  • Bran - May 19, 2016 reply

    I think I will need class 175 to ship a couple smaller-sized stoves.

  • Ron Avery - October 21, 2016 reply

    Thanks for the info

  • archie - October 26, 2016 reply

    is it ok to ship machinery class 85?

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