We all want the best bang for our freight shipping buck, don't we? Time and budgets are never unlimited, and getting quick and competitive pricing on each of your business' freight shipments is likely very important to you.

Some of the most commonly asked questions we get about freight shipping pricing revolve around calculating freight density and NMFC codes. With several pricing methodologies in use, it can be difficult to understand what factors play into the freight pricing you're quoted and how to ensure you're getting the best possible freight rates.

Let's take a closer look at the two main pricing structures for shipping LTL freight, and how understanding these methods can help you obtain great rates.

What is freight density pricing?

Pricing by freight density is when a carrier bases rates on an LTL shipment's volume, or density, which is the space occupied by a shipment in relation to its weight, instead of basing pricing on package weight alone Calculating freight density gives the dimensional weight, or DIM weight, which is used as the billable weight by the carrier.

What is NMFC code pricing?

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has defined a series of 18 freight classes based on a variety of factors, including dimensions, density, ease of handling, value and liability. Each class represents a broad category of commodities and contains multiple National Motor Freight Classification, or NMFC, codes that correspond to specific items in that group. Every commodity has both a freight class and an NMFC code.

Denser items generally have a lower freight class, while less-dense products usually have higher classifications. Carriers assign rates based on NMFC classes, assuming that higher-density items take up less space on a truck and are less susceptible to damage, therefore cost less to ship per hundred pounds of weight.

Check out this guide to learn more about the basics of freight classification codes.

What do I do to secure great freight shipping rates?

Between these two methodologies, NMFC class code pricing is far more common. Despite this disparity, and regardless of which method is used by a carrier to price your freight, there are certain things that are imperative for you as a business shipper to do in order to obtain accurate and competitive rates.

Here are our 5 recommendations for securing great, accurate freight rates:

  • Understanding bill of lading (BOL) accuracy. No matter how your freight pricing is calculated, it will not be correct if the information you enter into your BOL is wrong. The most common reason for reweighs and reclassification (which can cause carriers to add extra fees) and inaccurate pricing is incorrect BOL information. Take a few extra moments to confirm that you're entering correct info on class, weight, origin and destination ZIP codes, accessorials (special services required during transport) and dimensions.
  • Double-checking weight and measurements. Along with making sure that other BOL information is right, it's vital to make sure you're weighing and measuring your freight properly — now is not the time to cut corners or guess. If you're shipping density-based products that include a range of different NMFC classifications based on their dimensions and weight, get the weight and measurements right.
  • Indicating stackability, if applicable. Freight shipments are considered stackable when they're of uniform size and have pallets with bottom support. Stackable freight allows carriers to use space more efficiently and can be a factor in lowering your rates. Always indicate if your shipment is stackable in your paperwork and check out additional freight packaging tips to ensure you're following best practices.
  • Leveraging available resources. You're not wrong if you feel like freight pricing methodologies can be confusing! Fortunately, there are multiple resources available to help you get an accurate freight quote.

The NMFTA ClassIT website is a great resource for comparing commodities and better understanding how to classify your freight. The NMFTA can also provide more personalized assistance in applying the correct NMFC number to your shipment. This is considered an official ruling for your freight's class, and can be very useful if there's a dispute with a carrier.

Worldwide Express has a proprietary transportation management system, SpeedShip®, that features a freight density calculator which can help you more accurately select your freight shipping class and NMFC code, which ultimately leads to a more accurate freight shipping quote.

  • Picking the right partner. Navigating the ins and outs of calculating freight class by density, along with all the other factors that go into accurate shipping pricing, is always easier with a partner.

By working with a high-quality third-party logistics provider (3PL), you'll keep abreast of changes to NMFC classification codes, have a customized commodities list and personalized consultations on the right codes to use for your freight, and much more.

Freight density and NMFC class codes are confusing. Let the shipping pros help.

As you can see, there's a lot of know-how and effort that goes into getting accurate freight quotes. Partnering with the pros at Worldwide Express removes a lot of the uncertainty, guesswork and stress from the process.

Our team of LTL shipping experts can perform a complimentary shipping consultation for your business and help you make sure you're getting fair and accurate pricing for your freight. When you work with our team, you'll not just have a helping hand with calculating the density and codes of your freight, but you'll also have a partner at your side to identify classes for new products as your business grows.

Schedule your complimentary, custom shipping consultation with the Worldwide Express.