We’ve already posted an article on whether you should ship your items LTL (less than truckload) or on a flatbed or FTL (full truckload). If you decide to ship LTL you need to know your product’s freight (or shipping) class. But what is a freight class? What does the class have to do with shipping prices? A lot of people think that the shipping process can get complicated, but we will answer your questions in this post.

First of all, the freight class ranks your shipment’s transportability. There are 18 different shipping classes, ranging from 50 to 500. Items with a lower class are going to be heavy and dense. Higher class items are generally lighter and/or possibly breakable. The higher the freight class, the more money you are going to be spending on shipping.

As we have stated previously, there are four factors that determine the class:

  • Density: the space your item takes up
  • Stow-ability: what different items can be stored together, if inventory can be stacked easily, if the material is hazardous or otherwise difficult
  • Handling: ease or difficulty in loading and carrying the items
  • Liability: probability of theft or damage

Additionally, an NMFC number goes along with the individual items of the class. NMFC stands for National Motor Freight Classification, and it started to standardize shipping. This number corresponds to a specific commodity and can change depending on how the product is packaged. You don’t have to include the NMFC number with your product, but it helps carriers understand more about what is shipping.

If you are a company that has many different products all classed differently, FAKs can help. FAK stands for “freight all kinds” and they are given by individual carriers. For example, if you usually ship items class 85 to class 200, the carrier could give you a FAK of 100. This way, you can ship all the products at that class, and you usually save money on freight.

There is a lot more information when it comes to shipping and shipments, but hopefully this post got you started with the basics. Now that you know about shipping classes, you should be ready to start confidently shipping your products.