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LTL Freight Class

LTL Freight Class

dry-van-freightIf you are confused about the wide variance in shipping costs for LTL cargo, you are in good company! That is because freight falls into several different categories, depending on a variety of factors. Your cargo will be assigned to one of 18 classes, rated anywhere from a low of 50 to a high of 500; rates are correspondingly lower relative to the number assigned. Once you understand the reasoning behind the rate structure, you will be better equipped to choose the right mover for your freight. The factors involved are as follows:

  • Density per cubic foot; You might expect that very dense (heavy) cargo would cost the most, but freight weighing less than one pound per cubic foot is rated highest, because it takes up the most space per value of goods. Freight weighing 50 pounds per cubic foot is rated at 50 or lowest cost/cubic foot.
  • How easy or difficult it is to stow the goods; items that have extra height or length, unusual shapes, or that contain hazardous materials making it difficult to ship with other items will be assigned a higher freight number. In addition, if items cannot bear the weight of other cargo on top, then they will take more space and require higher class numbers.
  • How easy it is to load and unload; if cargo requires special handling due to fragility, size, weight, or hazardous contents, then it will be in a higher freight class.
  • Susceptibility to theft or damage; very valuable cargo that could easily be stolen, cargo that is easily damaged such as fresh produce, or cargo that may cause damage to other freight such as combustible or toxic materials will be rated in a higher class.

The assigned freight class is used in determining tariffs across borders as well as the initial costs. Being an informed customer can save you the higher costs of freight that is being shipped with an unnecessarily high freight category of cargo. When negotiating costs with a trucking company, be sure to give them all pertinent details about your shipment to avoid unexpected costs.

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