Weight is one of the elements used to classify shipments smaller than truckloads, but it is used in combination with other load information such as volume, value, stow-ability, handling and liability to determine the cargo's LTL class. Some standard types of shipping cargo have assigned classifications while other cargo may require special classification because of its shape, contents or packaging.
Weight is used in relation to volume to determine a shipment's density. This tells the trucking company not only how much of the truck's allowed load weight the material will consume, but also how much physical space it will occupy. This establishes the weight per cubic foot of the load.
The stow-ability classification of the load is determined by how easy it is to load and carry. Excessively heavy material or shipments that are long or have protrusions affect how much can fit on one truck. Cargo that lacks a load bearing surface and can't be stacked, as well as hazardous material, also affects the freight classification.
Typically, most freight is handled by mechanical equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks. Freight that is fragile, hazardous or oddly shaped may require special attention for loading and unloading.
The liability of the shipment is its potential for theft, damage or damage to other freight. Cargo that is perishable or potentially combustible may require special LTL classification.