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Shipper Insights: How Accurate NMFC’s Can Help Control Transportation Costs

April 27, 2017

NMFC’s must be provided by the shipper so that carriers can determine shipping rates. Learn what shippers need to know about NMFC’s to control transportation-related costs.

One of the most important steps when preparing a LTL (Less-than-Truckload) shipment is identifying the correct NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification). The NMFC is a numerical code which describes the freight, allowing the carrier to identify the commodity and provide a shipping quote. With air filters, this code becomes a critical metric in the landed price due to the fact that you are shipping a large percentage of air.

The NMFC along with the distance from origin to destination and the weight of the shipment will factor into the rate shippers receive from the carrier. However, to obtain an accurate quote, the shipper must know and report the NMFC for its respective commodity.

So, what is an NMFC?

Essentially, NMFC’s standardize the comparison of commodities for pricing across the transportation industry. The NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association) publishes NMFC’s and provides updates on a quarterly basis to keep pace with changes throughout the industry.  For example, the shift by many carriers to PCF (pounds per cubic foot) pricing has caused changes in NMFC’s for a number of products over the past couple of years.

NMFC’s group commodities into one of 18 classes – from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500.

NMFC’s are based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics:

  • Density
  • Handling
  • Stowability
  • Liability

Example (Item 69100: Filters) – 1 skid @ 48”x40”x48” – 500# = 9.38 density would be 69100-06 class 100

Additionally, the NMFC provides specifications such as minimum packaging requirements, value thresholds, hazardous materials safety information and more.

Why is NMFC accuracy important?

Simply put, transportation costs could increase if shippers report an incorrect NMFC to the carrier. Two examples include:

  • Classification Fees
  • Higher Shipment Cost due to a Change in Rate Per Hundred Pounds

How can shippers ensure NMFC accuracy?

Continuous education is one of the best ways shippers can ensure NMFC accuracy and manage transportation-related costs. Each quarter the NMFTA releases a list of commodities which will undergo an NMFC change. To see the spring 2017 NMFC changes, download the newest Ascent Global Logistics NMFC Upcoming Changes eBook here.

Additionally, finding a strong logistics partner can help shippers consistently identify correct NMFC’s and avoid costly re-class fees. Partnering with a third party logistics company such as Ascent Global Logistics provides another layer of expertise when classifying freight. Professional 3PL’s have a deep understanding of NMFC’s to prompt proactive questions to ensure correct classifications. Furthermore, Ascent Global Logistics provides free NMFC assistance to all clients.

Do you need further help with NMFC’s?

Ascent Global Logistics offers comprehensive logistics solutions including domestic freight management, international freight forwarding and retail consolidation. Within our domestic freight management solutions, we have an entire team dedicated to LTL shipping and freight classifications.

Contact our team of logistics professionals today to learn how we can help you reach peak logistics performance. Call us at 800.689.6255 Ext. 280 or visit us at