What costs more to ship?  A Truckload of feathers or a truckload of bricks?

Answer: It probably costs the same.

But why?  A truckload of feathers would take 53' of trailer maxed out, while a truckoad of bricks may only take 10% of that space

The reasoning behiond freight class it that not all freight is created equally.  because of factors such as freight density, the small the load of bricks may max out the "weight-capacity" of the trailer before it max's out the "space" capacity. This example shows that carriers must assign a special "freight class" to shipments to reflect the true "cost" of shipping each item.

In general, freight class is stermined by the following charactersitics:

  1. Density
  2. Stowability
  3. Handling
  4. Liability

  5. Many times, shippers will be shocked to find that they receive charges over and above what they were initially quoted based on the fact the the "carrier reassessed the class of the freight.  In one example I recall a shipper moving freight described as chew toys for dogs.  When the carrier discovered that the "chew toys" were manufactured using deer antlers (apparently this is common) the change in freight class took a $300.00 shipment to well over $1200.00. - And the freight dimensions and weight did not change!

    The National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) is the standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce.  DUring the assessment process commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on the above mentioned characterisitcs. There is also another way to detemine freight class that is gaining wider adoption.  "Density Based" freight class is a simple formula that calculates the density of an object (or freight package) by multiplying its dimensions and determining how many pounds per cubic foot the item consists of. this measurement is compared to a table which will assign the class.  This system is widely used by large LTL carriers in Canada,

    If you need additional help to determine your freight class, please contact ShipCanada customer servce at 1-888-308-4872. You can also find more detailed information about freight classes through the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) is a nonprofit organization comprised of 900 motor carriers and transportation companies operating in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. NMFTA offers an online version of the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC), a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in commerce. To purchase an online subscription, select the link below.