The National Motor Freight ClassificationTM
The Standard for Freight Identification and Classification
The National Motor Freight ClassificationTM (NMFCTM) is a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. It is similar in concept to the groupings or grading systems that serve many other industries. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s “transportability.”
The four transportation characteristics were prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1983 and then mandated by its successor agency, the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Although the ICC no longer exists and the STB no longer regulates the classification process, by analyzing commodities on the basis of these characteristics and ONLY on the basis of these characteristics, the NMFCTM provides both carriers and shippers with a standard by which to begin negotiations and greatly simplifies the comparative evaluation of the many thousands of products moving in today’s competitive marketplace.
The Standard for Packaging, Rules and Bills of Lading
The NMFCTM specifies minimum packaging requirements to ensure that goods are adequately protected in the motor carrier environment and can be handled and stowed in a manner that is reasonably safe and practicable. It contains various rules that govern and otherwise relate to the classification and/or packaging of commodities as well as procedures for the filing and disposition of claims. It also contains the Uniform Straight Bill of Lading and the North American Uniform Through Bill of Lading, including their Terms and Conditions.
The National Motor Freight ClassificationTM is a comprehensive, invaluable resource for transportation and packaging professionals. To order the National Motor Freight ClassificationTM, please click here.
- Classification Assistance & Interpretations
- Who Must Participate in the NMFCTM – FAQs
- The Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB)
- The Classification Resource Committee (CRC)
- Amending the NMFCTM
- Classification Research Projects
- Training and Education
NMFC Class Guide
One of the most confusing aspect of shipping freight with less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers is properly identifying the NMFC Class ("Class") of your commodity. This guide will step you through the importance of properly classifying your freight, how Class is determined and the effect of Class on your shipping cost.
Short for the National Motor Freight Classification, the NMFC is a pricing tool that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 Classes - from a low of Class 50 to a high of Class 500 - based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s "transportability." As mandated by the Surface Transportation Board of the U. S. Department of Transportation, all commodities are evaluated on the basis of these four transportation characteristics and ONLY on the basis of those four characteristics.
Finding Class with eFREIGHT
The only correct and proper way to find the Class of your commodity is to look it up in the NMFC guide published by the NMFTA. However, since most shippers deal with only a handful of products, or types of products, it may not be necessary for you to purchase such guide. We provide tools to help you find and manage Classes.
As the name implies, our density calculator provides estimated Classes based solely on the density of your commodity. Other factors may effect the Class (mainly stowability, handling and liability). Rate quotes based on the results provided by this calculator are not guaranteed and may be subject to adjustments by the carrier.
We have a staff dedicated to the task of finding the correct Class of your commodity. Simply fill out this form and provide a detailed description of the commodity, and we will promptly get back to you with the Class rating.
Commodity Types Lookup (account users only)
A way for you to save a list of commodities and their Classes for future retrieval.
There are eighteen recognized Class ratings: 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 77.5, 85, 92.5, 100, 110, 125, 150, 175, 200, 250, 300, 400 and 500.
Note: 77.5 is sometimes denoted as 77, and 92.5 as 92. For all practical purposes, they are equivalent.
Reasons the NMFC Exists
Carriers must handle hundred (or even thousands) of different commodities every day, each with different characteristics. One hundred pounds of pillows takes up a lot more room than one hundred pounds of books. If the NMFC did not exist and all rates were based solely on weight, carriers would be relunctant, or may even downright refuse, to ship the pillows simply because they would take up too much space.
NMFC's Effect on Pricing
Generally, the lower the Class rating, the lower the rate (per pound). Thus, assuming two commodities of equal weight, a commodity rated at Class 50 will generally cost less to ship than one that is rated at Class 100.