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 Chemicals 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 Chemicals and hence, the shipping cost. It is calculated as the weight of the shipment divided by its volume. It's a measure of how much a shipment weighs compared to the space it takes up.

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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 Chemicals, it is important to know if the item can be packaged efficiently and stowed onto the truck easily. In other words- Stowability is the ability of a shipment to be stored or stowed efficiently.

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Liability is a term used to refer to the accountability or risk involved in transporting Chemicals. It's one of the factors considered when determining freight class. Liability is the responsibility assumed by a carrier for the safe delivery of goods.

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

Freight Class Commodities




Coal Tar Resins

Corrosive Materials

Environmentally Hazardous Substances

Flammable Liquids

Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials

Petroleum Resins

Plastic Compounds

Propylene Glycol











Applies only on coumarone-indene, petroleum polymer or petroleum hydrocarbon resins, or on resin compounds, not commercially suitable for molding or extruding purposes, in liquid, powder, flake, lump or solid mass form. Applies on such resins or resin compounds only when: (1) the resin or rosin does not exceed 50 percent by weight of contents; OR (2) the resin or rosin exceeds 50 percent by weight of contents provided that the actual value does not exceed 60 cents per pound and is so certified by the shipper on shipping orders and bills of lading at time of shipment. If the actual value exceeds 60 cents per pound or if no value is shown by the shipper at time of shipment, item 156200, naming 'Plastic Flakes, NOI, Granules, Lumps, Pellets, Powder or Solid Mass,' or item 156240, naming 'Liquid Plastic, NOI,' will apply, with the final determination of item dependent on the form of the resin or resin compound. Not required by the U.S. Department of Transportation to bear a Hazard Class or Hazard Division label or placard. Does not apply on materials regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as hazardous and required to bear a Hazard Class or Hazard Division label or placard. For classes applicable to such hazardous materials, see provisions elsewhere in this Classification. In multiple-wall paper bags, cloth bags, boxes, drums or Packages 2452, 2473, 2501 or 2510.

Dry, in paper lined burlap bags or in boxes or drums.

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.


What is freight hsn code?

HSN stands for Harmonized System of Nomenclature. It is a system for classifying commodities created by the World Customs organization. U.S. LTL shipping, however, uses NMFC classifications instead.

What is the best way to calculate your freight class?

Working with a 3PL like Koho can help you accurately determine your freight class so you can avoid re-classification fees with the carriers. For more information on the freight class system, go to the National Motor Freight and Traffic Association.