Figuring Out Your Freight Class

Everything that you can touch is assigned to one of the 18 Freight Classes. Freight Classes are not cut and dry and have many variables to help classify the goods, but there are 4 major things to look at when determining your Freight Class.

1. Density- is the space your shipment occupies in relation to it’s weight. Bringing back your High School Math Class your swear you would never need, we calculate Density by dividing the weight of the shipment in pounds by the shipment’s volume in cubic feet (the shipment’s length x width x height/ 1728).

2. Stow-ability- The purpose of LTL is to consolidate your shipment with other people’s shipments, so stow-abilty looks at how easy it is to fit your shipment in a truck or container, and specifically it looks at how well you can load other shipments with your shipment. Factors to consider are-  is it hazardous materials,  is it stackable, is there an excessive weight, length or protrusions making loading it with other shipments difficult.

3. Handling- Since most shipments are loaded with a forklift or pallet jack if your shipment cannot be loaded in that manner due to weight, shape, fragility, hazardous materials, requiring special attention, or lack of a pallet determines how well your shipment can be handled.

4. Liability- While most of us know Murphy’s Law and anything that can happen will happen, it is especially important when looking at your shipment. Liability is the possibility of something happening to your shipment because of what it is or how much it is worth.  It could be the likelihood of it getting damaged because it is so fragile, it could be the likelihood of it damaging someone else’s shipment because maybe it is top heavy and can fall, or the likelihood of someone stealing it because it is gold bars on a pallet. Anything perishable or anything that may spontaneously combust  also carries a high liability because the shipment could get ruined without any fault.

After you have decided to ship LTL, figuring out what your specific Freight Class(es) are for your shipments is very important. This insures that you get reliable pricing for your shipments.  The below table is a general guide to illustrate what factors can influence your freight class. In order to properly figure out your specific Freight Class you should contact your local PEI office for help.

LTL Class graph