Calculate the density of your freight shipment

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Freight Density

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is the industry standard that shippers and carriers use for pricing and organizing LTL shipments. The NMFC freight class is determined based on a commodity’s transportability. There are 18 possible NMFC classifications for LTL freight, ranging from the lowest and least expensive, freight class 50, to the highest and most expensive, freight class 500. A commodity’s transportability is established based on four criteria: density, handling, stowability, and liability. Typically, items that are dense, easy to handle, easy to store, and durable will be classified lower, while items that are less dense, fragile, uniquely shaped, or prone to liability will be classified higher. 

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) publishes a list of freight class designations, codes, and subclasses for commonly shipped items (https://classit.nmfta.org/). The NMFC guide provides the freight class and item code for many commodities but not all. If the commodity in your LTL freight shipment is not listed within the NMFC codes, you can apply a general class rate or NOI (Not Otherwise Indicated) class to determine the cost to ship the item. Most carriers will manually process NOI freight items and apply a quote based on the density or pounds per cubic foot (PCF) of the item. It is strongly recommended that shippers take exact measurements for the weight and dimensions of their shipment in order to provide the most accurate PCF possible to the carrier so as to avoid any discrepancies that could lead to reclassification or additional billing. The PCF density of an item can be determined simply by dividing the item’s volume in cubic feet by its gross weight in pounds. Please note that the dimensions measured should include the entire size of the shipment, including packaging and pallet.

For example:

The volume of an item on a pallet with dimensions 36 inches long x 36 inches wide x 36 inches high = 48" x 48" x 48" / 1,728* = 64 cubic feet. 

(*note that 1,728 is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot)

If the actual gross weight of the pallet is 400 pounds, then the calculated density of the pallet is 400 pounds / 64 cubic feet = 6.25 pounds per cubic foot. This would place the item to be shipped in freight class 125*.



* This calculation is an estimate only. Density is the main factor for the determination of freight class, but other transportability factors such as handling, stowability, and liability can change the item’s final freight classification. Consult the NMFTA (http://www.nmfta.org/pages/contactus) or contact Koho for help determining the freight class of your shipment.

Density Chart

Freight Density (pounds per cubic foot)

Freight Class

Commodity Examples

Less than 1

500

Gold, Ping Pong Balls

1 but less than 2

400

Kayaks, Deer Antlers

2 but less than 3

300

Wood Cabinets, Assembled Chairs

3 but less than 4

250

Televisions, Box Springs

4 but less than 5

200

Aluminum Parts, Mattresses, Wood Tables

5 but less than 6

175

Upholstered Furniture, Machinery

6 but less than 7

150

Sheet Metal, Bookcases

7 but less than 8

125

Small Appliances

8 but less than 9

110

Cabinets, Framed Art

9 but less than 10.5

100

Car & Boat Covers,

10.5 but less than 12

92.5

Computers, Refrigerators

12 but less than 13.5

85

Crated Machinery,

13.5 but less than 15

77.5

Tires, Bathroom Fixtures

15 but less than 22.5

70

Automobile Engines,

22.5 but less than 30

65

Books, Bottled Beverages

30 but less than 35

60

Car Parts, Printed Materials

35 but less than 50

55

Hardwood flooring, Bricks, Cement

50 or greater

50

Nuts, bolts, Bulk Ingredients (very durable freight)

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