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 Foodstuffs 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 Foodstuffs and hence, the shipping cost. It is calculated as the weight of the shipment divided by its volume. Density is a fundamental concept in LTL and freight shipping, impacting freight class and shipping cost.

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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 Foodstuffs, it is important to know if the item can be packaged efficiently and stowed onto the truck easily. In other words- Stowability is how well a freight item can be loaded and stored on a trailer.

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Liability is a term used to refer to the accountability or risk involved in transporting Foodstuffs. It's one of the factors considered when determining freight class. It's the carrier's risk for the potential loss or damage of goods during transportation.

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Handling refers to the procedures and precautions taken when moving and storing Foodstuffs. It is one of the factors considered when determining freight class for Foodstuffs. It's the actions involved in ensuring the safe movement and storage of freight.

Freight Class Commodities









Prepared Foods



















Carbonated, flavored or phosphated, NOI, not including extracts, syrups nor alcoholic liquors, Will not apply on de-alcoholized or nonalcoholic liquors such as cordials, liqueurs, vermouths or cocktails-they being subject to the class applying on liquors, NOI, nonalcoholic. in boxes or drums, in glass in bottle carriers with sealed tops or in Packages 1428, 2437 or 2438

Doughnut or cake, dry, Applies only on powdered sugar containing not over 30 percent of corn starch, shortening and flavoring. in multiple-wall paper bags

NOI; Flavoring Compounds, NOI; Imitation Flavors, NOI; or Bottlers' Flavoring Compounds, NOI, There may be included in each shipment of Bottlers' Flavoring Compounds a quantity of phosphoric acid solution, alcohol solution, or a combination of both, not in excess of 15 percent of the total shipment weight. Liquid, paste or dry, 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. Inner containers may include plastic or metal molds, or paper, plastic or wooden sticks not in excess of 5 percent of gross weight of package. There may be included in each package a quantity of sodium salts not in excess of 5 percent of the gross weight of the package. in boxes or drums; or dry, in bags or Packages 1000, 2358 or 2440

Canned, jacketed by cans containing chemical heating element, with or without water, in boxes

Other than frozen, Group III, viz.: Fish Balls; Juice, clam or oyster; Milk, Cream, Buttermilk or Dry Milk Solids, powdered or flaked, with or without vegetable fats not exceeding one percent by weight, also in multiple-wall paper bags; In boxes, crates, drums or Packages 1361, 2463, 2498, 2499 or 2500

Fruit or vegetable, including Juice Concentrates, Juice Beverages or Juice Drinks; or Cider, fruit, including Cider Concentrates, nonalcoholic; in boxes, drums, pails or Packages 1000, 1264, 1500, 2288, 2400, 2437, 2438, 2463, 2467, 2498, 2499, 2500 or 2515

Food, cheese flavored, Applies on blended ingredients such as: dried milk, whey, flavoring additives (including cheese solids), enzymes, salt, and acidifying or coloring agents; having a moisture content not exceeding 5 percent. Does not apply on commodities which are designed to be reconstituted with liquid ingredients. in bulk in bags

Beet or cane, other than raw, in bags, boxes or Packages 969 or 1350

Cooking, flavoring or seasoning (Wine, salted or sugared), in boxes

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.


Where can I find freight class code chart?

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) publishes a list of freight class designations, codes, and subclasses for commonly shipped items ( A subscription fee is required to access this list. You can learn more about freight classes from the experts at Koho 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.