What is Freight Shipping and Freight Class

What is Freight Shipping

Transportation of bulk commodities by road, air or multimodal transport is described as freight. Owing to the expansion of e-commerce firms throughout the world freight has become an essential element of many companies.

Therefore, it is known as freight shipping when a bigger cargo transport is required throughout the country or the world. Air transport, land shipping and maritime transport are also included in freight shipping. The items are normally placed onto big transport containers on pallets in order to carry them to a final destination.

Options for Freight

To accommodate the product quantity required to be shipped, expense and delivery time freight have several options to consider from and deliver your shipment. Generally, they are divided into three subtypes that includes:

  1. FTL (Full Truck Load)
  2. LTL (Less than Truckload)
  3. PTL (Partial Truckload)

Full Truckload or FTL

The shipment that includes a truck consisting of one shipment only is regarded as the FTL or full truckload. The FTL shipment is a feasible and cost effective option for your shipment when it is large enough to be accommodated in any other shipping option. Moreover, the FTL provides faster shipment while avoiding mishandling of materials. 

Less-than-Truckload or LTL

This is what basically forms the freight classes and we will be going to discuss in this article. The LTL shipping is the one that delivers different types of shipments in a truck. For smaller and products having low density the shipments are sent via less than truckload (LTL) option.

Partial Truckload or PTL

The intermediate option between LTL and FTL is the partial truckload (PTL). A single truck only has to transport shipping articles from pickup point to delivery point, in PTL however, the route might become long owing to various delivery points the truck requires to make.

What is a Freight Class?

A freight class is a standard of the shipment transporting industry and a grouping method for goods carried over the LTL (less-than-truckload) of the freight transportation network. 

It ensures that all consumers have to pay a uniform cost when their cargo is sent. The freight class allotted depends on the individual goods or the total density of the product. Freight class calculator helps to find the accurate freight class value.

Freight Classification

The NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) with matching classes for each product is allocated by the NMFTA. This spans from class 50 to class 500 on the basis of four criteria of transport: density, handling, liability and stowability. 

Together, these four define the transportability of a product and offer a consistent class-by-class assessment technique which is utilized by LTL carriers. Similar transit features of commodities fit into the same class. The more difficult, risky and expensive transit for the carrier, the greater the class.

Factors to Determine Freight Class

In determining the class of a freight, that decides what would be the cost of sending that shipment the four factors are considered. Now discuss the different Factors that Determine Freight Class, these four factors that defines the class of a freight include density, handling, lability and stowability and are discussed below:


The amount of space an item takes up in relation to its weight, and it is measured in pounds per cubic foot, forms the density of the product. Products that are compact and have a greater density will fall into a lower freight class and will be less expensive to ship than bulky items because of their lower density.


When delivering an item, the amount of care that must be exercised is taken into consideration. If the item is delicate, requires special handling, or has hazardous qualities, it will be classified as a higher freight class and will thus be more expensive to transport.


Items of a greater monetary worth or those are more likely to be stolen or damaged are placed in a higher freight class and are thus more expensive to send than other items.


It is determined by how readily an item of freight may be moved in conjunction with other commodities and is termed as stowability. Perishable, flammable, and hazardous freight are all shipped under certain shipment regulations, and they cannot be carried with specific goods.

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