What is Freight Class?

Freight class is a standard classification system for shipments, defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). It's used to categorize commodities like Boxes for transport, taking into account factors like weight, dimensions, density, storage capability, ease of handling, and liability. Freight class is a system to categorize different types of goods being shipped.

How to determine Freight Class

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Density is a key concept in freight shipping, as it significantly impacts the freight class for commodities like Boxes and hence, the shipping cost. It is calculated as the weight of the shipment divided by its volume. In the context of freight shipping, density is how much a shipment weighs compared to its size.

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Stowability is used in freight shipping to describe how easily an item can be stowed or stored in relation to other items. For example, when trying to understand stowability for Boxes, it is important to know if the item can be packaged efficiently and stowed onto the truck easily. In other words- Stowability refers to how well a shipment fits with other shipments on a truck.

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Liability is a term used to refer to the accountability or risk involved in transporting Boxes. It's one of the factors considered when determining freight class. Liability refers to the level of responsibility a carrier assumes for the condition of goods during shipment.

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Handling refers to the procedures and precautions taken when moving and storing Boxes. It is one of the factors considered when determining freight class for Boxes. Handling refers to the operations involved in moving and storing freight.

Freight Class Commodities



Cartons Fiberboard

Chests Tool

Crates Box



Pipe Line Gate Valve Steel

Shipping Aluminum











With or without metal ends, with spout or dispensing tip, in boxes

Bottle carrying, steel wire.

In boxes

SU, nested, Item 110, Sec. 13 will govern except that the words "one-half of its height" may be substituted for "one-third of its height."

NOI, KD flat, in packages

Common Commodity Items



For many NMFC® codes there isn’t just one single class that is applied. Often, NMFC® numbers have multiple "sub-classes", which are almost always based on the density of the shipment. In the instance where your NMFC® number has multiple sub classes, it's best to contact an expert, like Koho, to help identify which subclass to use.


How do I get my NMFC code?

An organization known as the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) publishes a list of freight class designations, codes, and subclasses for many commonly shipped commodities ( You must pay a subscription fee to view this list. For more information about freight classes for free on our freight classes pages.

How is the cost of freight determined?

Your freight cost is determined by a number of variables, such as how far your shipment needs to go, the freight class number, whether or not accessorials are needed, as well as fluctuating fuel costs and truck capacity.