Should I Know My NMFC Number When Shipping?

Posted On 24th July 2016

The short answer is YES – if you want to protect your company from up-charges during shipping you must do the research, and select the right National Motor Freight Classification Number for the particular commodity you are shipping.

The Freight Traffic Association NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) - is a group of LTL Freight Carriers who joined together to determine initially 18 classes then expanded from there based on weight, and cubic feet, and pounds per cubic foot in order to come up with a way to standardize freight pricing in which commodities are grouped based on characteristics density, based on weight.

Common carriers, have the right to charge you additionally for products whose density might indicate a lower class, but whose NMFC classification corresponds to a higher class. According to the Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) commodity system, density is not the only determining factor.

A product’s higher than average value, handling difficulty, or historical claims ratio can also merit a higher class. Electronics come immediately to mind – on a dimensional basis they might be class 92.5 or class 100, but common carriers by their tariffs have the right to charge Class 175, as the commodity description for electronics is often NMFC Item 61575 and has been set at Class 175. There are many other commodities like electronics that will be charged a new and higher rate if the NMFC code justifies it.

On the flip side, you might discover that your commodity by density usually equates to a class that is higher, but your product is allowed to ship at a lower class. For example, motor oil often has a density which makes it a class 70, but is allowed to ship at a class 65.

The reason might be that shipments of motor oil are packed well and in a square method on a pallet and thus easy to handle. Whatever the reason, it is imperative to research to determine what your commodity description matches in the NMFC book.

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