NMFC Code Lookup by FreightRun

So, what is NMFC? The LTL freight industry utilizes National motor freight classification (NMFC) codes to classify items for shipping. You will need to determine which NMFC freight class belongs in as you are determining your freight class. This article will tell you everything you need to know about NMFC codes, NMFC number lookups, and how to identify the correct freight class for your full truckload or LTL shipping load. We’ll even give you some tips on how to complete NMFC code lookup for free.

What is an NMFC Number

Let’s start with a basic question: what is an NMFC code?

Here’s the quickest way to explain NMFC meaning: the transportation industry uses NMFC classification to classify, rate, and price shipments based on specific qualities. Choosing the right NMFC code is essential to determining the freight class of your load. Some items on the NMFC code chart have a permanent class, while other categories on the NMFC commodity code list depend upon the item’s weight, size, or composition.

Determining your NMFC code is incredibly important because it helps you see how feasible (and cost-effective) it will be to ship a particular item. Going forward, we’ll tell you about how you can find a specific NMFC code and use various NMFC code lookup tools.

How Do I Find My NMFC Code?

You can use an NMFC code lookup tool to quickly search through the entire NMFC database and find the correct NMFC number to classify your load. These tools will help you figure out how to find an NMFC code.

Step One is to look for the commodity within the search tool. Try to be as specific as possible for the most accurate results. Once you find the commodity that best matches the load or material you’re shipping, use the freight calculator to figure out the total density of your commodity. Have the item’s precise height, weight, length, and width ready to input. Once you calculate the overall density of your commodity, you can choose the corresponding freight class.

If you are still having a hard time determining your freight density after using an online calculator, you can contact the manufacturer of the item or call the National Motor Freight Traffic Association for further assistance.

Remember that these calculators are only offering a rough estimate, and you should always confirm that you’re using the correct NMFC code to avoid reclassification (and the extra charges that reclassification requires). The best way to do this is to work with an LTL expert who has the wisdom and insight necessary to give you the most precise information.

Who Creates NMFC Numbers

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) assigns and governs NMFC codes. Their headquarters is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and most of their members belong to the freight industry.

The NMFTA assigns each National Motor Freight Classification item number to ensure that there’s a universal standardized system in place for NMFC lookup and Freight class organization. Numbers can change quarterly, so it’s important that you’re using the most precise and up-to-date information.

How are NMFC Codes Assigned

When you’re performing an NMFC class lookup, you may start to wonder why certain items have the codes they do. Several factors determine your load’s NMFC class:

  • Stowability. How easy are your items to transport? If your load is subject to certain carrier policies or government regulations, it may have a higher freight classification. This is common for items that are hazardous or flammable (as well as items that can’t be shipped with certain materials).
  • Liability. If items have a high potential for loss or damage during transit, they may have a higher freight class. This also happens when items can potentially cause other items to be damaged while on the move. If you’re shipping items that require special attention or care, you’ll definitely want to consult the NMFC freight class chart to ensure you’re correctly classifying your items with the right NMFC item number.
  • Ease of Handling. Your NMFC code can be higher if your load requires special instructions for loading or unloading because of weight, shape, or other potential hazards.
  • Density. Density represents the amount of measurable space that an item needs in correlation with its weight. Normally a higher density means a lower class and a lower density means a higher class.

The acronym “SLED” helps make these four points of criteria easier to remember.

National Motor Freight Classification Codes Chart

Each year, the NMFTA releases a revised National Motor Freight Classification guide with an updated NMFC commodity codes list. This chart dictates how much certain classes will cost per pound.

There are 18 freight classes and subcodes range from 50 to 500. Items such as nuts, bolts, and steel rods are more likely to be in Class 50 and do not cost as much to ship. More delicate (and less dense) items such as ping pong balls will probably have a much higher NMFC code.

How to Perform Accurate NMFC Codes Lookup

The NMFC codes chart lists various NMFC codes in 18 different classes. Each of the eighteen classes represents the number of cubic feet an item will require during shipping (and how much that item will cost to ship). A Class 50 item, which is also considered “clean freight,” is very durable and inexpensive to ship. A class 500 item is likely a low-density or a highly valuable item and will be the most expensive shipping class.

Between 50 and 500, there are an additional 16 freight classes. As you get higher, there’s more separation between each class. For example, there are nine freight classes with an NMFC code between 50 and 100 and only nine additional NMFC codes between 100 and 400. The four highest NMFC codes are 250,300, 400, and 500 while the four lowest are 50, 55, 60, and 65.

For the best results on your NMFC codes search, make sure you’re using the most recent NMFC codes list to perform an NMFC lookup. If you can find a place to complete NMFC code lookup for free, that’s even better (as long as it’s accurate).