When Shipping Freight, What Do All of the Class Numbers Mean?


Quick Answer

Any item that is shipped by freight is given a designated shipping class number, which categorizes the item by type, height, length, weight and other measurements. There are 18 different freight classes ranging from 50 to 500. Standardized freight class numbers simplify the handling and transportation of commodity goods.

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Full Answer

Specific types of commodity goods shipped via freight are assigned standard freight class numbers, which are recognized by companies involved in the shipping business. The cost of freight is tied to these classifications. Goods given low-class freight numbers are cheaper to ship than those with higher class numbers; for instance, hardwood flooring is assigned class 55, which means a standard shipment weighs between 35 to 50 pounds per cubic foot. Alternatively, a box spring mattress is class 250, meaning it typically weighs about 4 pounds per cubic foot. Although the flooring is heavier in weight, it is cheaper to ship than the mattress due to the differences in classification.

Freight class numbers are assigned to various items based on transportation factors such as the density of the items, the amount of difficulty in handling the items, how the items are stored and liability issues attached to the items. It is important to make sure items are given the proper freight class number to avoid paying additional fees for shipping reclassification.

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