NASSTRAC challenges NCC on excessive class ratings for mixed shipments

February 6, 2004 -- MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- The National Small Shipments Traffic Conference (NASSTRAC) has formally objected to the National Classification Committee (NCC) about provisions of the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) under which mixed palletized shipments are rated at the highest class rating of any included commodity.

As NASSTRAC stated in its filing with the NCC, these provisions mean that a pallet including 50 bowling balls and 1 box of ping pong balls would be rated as if it consisted entirely of ping pong balls. This obviously produces a higher class rating than using the average density of the palletized freight. Because higher class ratings generally mean higher freight rates, shippers are penalized by these provisions.

Item 640, Section 3 of the NMFC, which provides for such artificially inflated class ratings on mixed shipments, contains an exception allowing articles in mixed shipments to be rated individually. However, the requirements to meet this exception are burdensome, and the NCC is considering a proposal to make them more burdensome.

In addition, recent changes in the NMFC mean that many more shipments are considered "mixed" today, because the NCC has adopted scales of different ratings for the same article, depending on density. As a result, more shipments are subject to inflated ratings and higher rates, and yet the NCC's new proposal would make this result harder to avoid.

NASSTRAC questions why any mixed shipment should be rated at the highest class rating of any included article, rather than at the overall density of the palletized freight. Provisions like this artificially increase freight rates, and have no place in a tariff published by carriers acting collectively, with antitrust immunity. For additional information, visit www.NASSTRAC.org or call 952/442-8850.

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Founded in 1952, NASSTRAC is a nationwide association specializing in issues related to strategic shipping involving LTL and small package shipments. NASSTRAC promotes the goals of its members in support of their supply chain responsibilities through advocacy, education, provider relationships, and professional networking.

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