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What is the National Motor Freight Classification?

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Quick Answer

The National Motor Freight Classification is a motor industry standard providing a comparison of 18 classes of commodities moving through interstate, intrastate and foreign commercial systems. It is published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc. headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia as of 2015.

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Commodity classes in the National Motor Freight Classification system number from a low of 50 to a high of 500. Four transportation characteristics are analyzed for each commodity to determine what class it should be placed under. These characteristics are: density, handling, stowability and liability. Together, they determine how transportable a commodity is. No other characteristic is considered for analysis or classification.

The National Motor Freight Classification provides guidelines for packaging goods, filing and settling claims, and for interline settlements. It helps professionals in the motor carrier, shipping and packaging industries to negotiate terms that benefit everyone and keep trade moving forward. By following its packaging guidelines, merchants can ensure that their goods can withstand the rigors of transportation and storage before delivery and sale. The National Motor Freight Classification also contains the Uniform Straight Bill of Lading and the North American Uniform Through Bill of Lading, or NABOL, which are legal documents that provide proof of delivery and also determine a carrier’s liability.

The Commodity Classification Standards Board, an autonomous body of the nonprofit National Motor Freight Traffic Association, prepares the National Motor Freight Classification. The online version of the system is known as ClassIT.

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