The Basics of NMFC Codes
In the world of shipping, National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) codes are critical to the freight classification process. Nearly every type of product or commodity shipped in this country has its own NMFC code that helps carriers determine the cost of any given load. Therefore, it’s essential for freight companies to use the right one to ensure timely delivery and accurate price estimates.
The History of NFMC Codes
When regulators became aware of the need for better industry standardization, The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) developed a classification system. The system breaks every type of freight into 18 different classes, each denoted with a code number between 50 and 500. These codes allow carriers and shippers to determine tariffs and rates for shipments.
The Basis for Classes
The well-defined classes of this system are based on four factors that determine how easy it is to transport a specific commodity. This is often referred to as a commodity’s “transportability.” In general, the higher the code number of the item, the more expensive it will be to transport.
These factors include:
How much space does the cargo use in a trailer relative to its weight? This requires accurate information about the product’s weight and dimensions.
Is the commodity particularly heavy, bulky or large? Is it a unique shape that requires a certain position in the trailer?
Is the product fragile or perishable? Does it need to be temperature-controlled? Does the cargo contain hazardous materials? What is the commodity’s value?
Ease of Handling
How difficult is it to handle the commodity?
Why NMFC Codes Are Beneficial
In addition to enabling realistic pricing estimates for carriers and shippers, NMFC codes illustrates specific packaging requirements for every class. This helps make sure that shipments get to their destinations in the best condition possible.
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