How Do NMFC Updates Impact Your LTL Shipments?

Apr 14

HOW DO NMFC UPDATES IMPACT Your ltl shipments?


Every quarter, the NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) releases updates regarding National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) numbers. These numbers are crucial to shippers in understanding how pricing impacts your commodity and finding the most cost effective way to ship your freight. NMFC numbers continue to evolve and as new items are introduced to the market, NMFC commodity codes may be readjusted. These updates prevent improper classification and provide a baseline for packaging and costs.

The Run Down

To give you a quick overview, a class 50 NMFC code generally refers to items that are lower in value, easy to handle and stow and are quite dense. A Class 500 NMFC code, however, applies to commodities that are lower in density (such as ping pong balls) or extremely high in value. So, the lower the class code, the cost of shipping typically correlates. Based on the evaluation of the characteristics: density, handling, stowability, liability and value, each commodity falls into a specific class code.

Dimensional Rating vs NMFC Numbers

Dimensional rating looks at the length, width, height, and weight of the commodity being shipped. The objective of this method is to price shipments based on the amount of space the freight will occupy in a trailer. Dimensional rating primarily benefits shippers of dense products and works against those who ship lightweight goods. However, NMFC ratings are enforced to keep costs fair, based on the type of commodity and not just the dimensions.

So, What Are The Possible Impacts Of NMFC Changes To Your Shipments?

Well, let’s say your commodity was previously in class 100, but has now been moved to class 150. The overall cost of your shipment may change based on the changes in density, handling, stowability, liability and value. Let’s go through an example:

Shipping a sauna previously fell into class 100 and as a result of a pending change that will go live on April 25th, this commodity will fall into class 150. The NMFTA created item number 172460, named "Sauna or Steam Rooms, combined or not combined with showers" and cancelled item 170650 that the saunas were previously classified as.

Shippers who do not classify their shipment to reflect the change in NMFC class could experience delays or additional changes due to improper classification, as the shipper will need to re-weigh your shipment and sometimes may not even fit on the trailer. For more information on understanding NMFC codes, click here.

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