How Do You Interpret NMFC Tables?

A National Motor Freight Classification table communicates the transportability rating of an item based primarily on that item's density. Other elements factored into the item's transportability include the handling, stow-ability and liability of the item. A commodity's transportability rating is based on how it grades on each of these categories. Graded commodities fall into one of 18 freight classes ranging from class 50 to class 500, with 500 being ideal transportability.

The National Motor Freight Classification is a standard that compares commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce based on the transportation characteristics of the commodity. Freight class is used as one of the factors to determine the cost associated with shipping a specific item. Typically, the lower the freight class, the lower the shipping cost.

The National Motor Freight Classification grading system provided by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association provides both parties in shipping transactions the ability to base negotiations off of defined standards. In order to participate in the NMFC, transportation companies must either become a member of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association or complete a license agreement and pay an annual fee.

As members of the NMFC, transportation companies can use and reference the provisions of the classification in their contracts and/or rate schedules. This includes commodity descriptions, classes, rules, packaging specifications and bills of lading. The provisions of the NMFC only apply to transportation companies who use or reference the classification.