It is VERY important you understand freight class. If you incorrectly classify your item to be shipped it can be reclassified by the freight carrier. Disputing this is difficult, time consuming and you will be charged the difference (usually without a discount).

The National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) is a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stow-ability, handling, and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s “transportability.”

By analyzing commodities on the basis of the four transportation characteristics and ONLY on the basis of those characteristics, the NMFC provides both carriers and shippers with a standard NMFC number or code by which to begin negotiations and greatly simplifies the comparative evaluation of the many thousands of products moving in today’s competitive marketplace.

If you don’t have an NMFC number/code listed on your BOL, there is a good possibility that your freight will be reclassified. Some carriers will assign an arbitrary class if there is no code listed on the BOL, often outlined in a carrier’s rules


Read the rest of this article by one of our favorite contributors who provide some of the best supply chain content in the industry.