More Glossary Terms

LTL Class

In less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, LTL class references two different classification types: freight class and NMFC code. Both classifications are used by LTL carriers and logistics service providers (LSPs) to calculate rates, make shipping decisions, and maintain safe transportation practices.

What is an LTL Freight Class in Transportation?
Every shipment that moves by LTL transportation needs an LTL freight class, an industry-wide numeric classification system that categorizes commodities. An LTL Freight Class represents a standardized way to define the price for an LTL freight shipment based on the ease of movement.
When LTL class information is correct, shippers are more likely to receive an accurate rate quote. LTL freight classifications also reduce the potential for damages, claims, and added costs along the way.
What is a Freight Class?

In freight shipping, there are 18 freight classes that fall between 50 and 500. The freight class number is determined by the density, stowability, handling, and liability of the commodity. Together, these shipping characteristics indicate to LTL carriers what level of complexity and risk they can expect from any shipment.

What is an NMFC Code?

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) manages the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system, which provides a standardized method for classifying items in an LTL shipment. The NMFC system assigns a classification number to specific commodities based on the density, handling, stowability, and liability of a specific item. NMFC Codes make calculating the freight class easier and reduce inaccuracy. Shippers and carriers both rely on this resource to streamline booking processes and prevent added costs.

Where Can I Find an LTL Class Calculator?
In an LTL shipment, each customer’s freight is evaluated based on density, handling, liability, and stowability. Shippers and carriers use simple formulas provided by the NMFC system to determine the classification for each item or pallet being shipped. In addition, many carrier companies offer freight class calculators.

The four shipping characteristics can be defined as:

  • Density: The pounds per cubic feet of the commodity. Items with higher density tend to have a lower freight class.
  • Handling: The level of difficulty to move the commodity from one LTL terminal to the other and into and out of the trailer. This characteristic also considers fragility and packaging.
  • Liability: The item’s ability to be damaged or to damage other freight, as well as its perishability. A higher liability typically indicates a higher class.
  • Stowability: If the freight can be stacked or turned to maximize space, or if its dimensions or the nature of the product require it to be shipped separately. The more difficult a pallet or item is to store, the higher its freight class will be.

Discover how MercuryGate helps LTL carriers improve performance

How MercuryGate Helps Customers Navigate LTL Class Codes

LTL shipping is complex and requires a high level of accuracy to ensure every delivery arrives at the right place safely and on time. With best-in-class technology that’s easy to navigate and use, booking LTL shipments is simple and cost-effective.

Improve Results with Accurate Calculations

Determining the correct freight class and NMFC Code for every LTL shipment is essential to maintaining a streamlined, efficient, and safe transportation system. Shippers and carriers can use the MercuryGate platform to calculate LTL density for their freight, which helps those businesses:

  • Improve pricing accuracy.
  • Reduce shipping delays.
  • Minimize damage claims.
  • Increase customer satisfaction.
Get LTL Rates and Manage Every Shipment

With a network of thousands of qualified carriers, any business can quickly get market-based rate quotes for LTL shipments. In addition to its vast carrier network, MercuryGate TMS makes it easy for logistics teams to:

  • Book and manage shipments any time.
  • Track pickups and deliveries.
  • Schedule and automate shipping alerts.
  • Streamline claims management and processing.
  • Meet international LTL shipping regulations.
Streamline Freight Settlement Processes

Companies need to keep track of important changes throughout the lifecycle of a shipment. MercuryGate makes that easy. If an error occurs on the classification of an LTL shipment, MercuryGate TMS leverages automation to identify when the carrier invoice shows freight was reweighed or reclassified. Accounting departments can use this feature to process freight settlement transactions across multiple stakeholders.

Address Complexity with Advanced Capabilities and Support

Businesses with LTL freight shipping needs rely on MercuryGate’s technology and logistics experts to navigate the most complex freight moves. With MercuryGate Customer Success, you’ll receive ongoing consultative support to help guide the evolution of your transportation strategy and technology roadmap. Through this partnership, businesses can realize the value of further streamlining operations through strategies for:

Read this case study to explore how LTL trucking company Oak Harbor enhanced routing and improved customer service with automation and expertise from MercuryGate.

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