The National Motor Freight Classification class number for a particular commodity is viewable on a variety of freight service websites such as Freight Management Logistics and Freight Quote. A number of freight services use this classification to group items according to density, handling, stowability and liability.
The National Motor Freight Classification is one of 18 categories ranging from 50 to 500, assigned to groups of similarly transported commodities. The classification depends on physical factors like the freight dimensions, weight and density. These measurable units inform the more intangible components of the classification system, handling and stowability. The former is generally defined as how easy or difficult it is to load or unload a particular commodity.
Stowability is defined as how much space a commodity takes up in a container; if it is oddly shaped, it may create costly and undesirable unused space around it. Finally, the overall value of the commodity is factored into the National Motor Freight Classification. High-value items are assigned a higher liability rating, making them more expensive to transport.
The National Motor Freight Classification system was developed by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association to standardize the shipping rates in the freight industry. Generally, larger, heavier and more valuable finished goods are more expensive to transport, and the standardization of this allows for some price surety in the freight industry.