The NMFC is used to classify all the commodities shipped and handled by motor freight carriers in North America. The NMFC facilitates comparisons of the transportability of commodities moving in intrastate, interstate and foreign commerce. Commodities are assigned one of 18 classes — from a low of 50 to a high of 500 — based on four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability.
The NMFC is a standard which comprises one of the two components of motor carrier pricing systems. The price for shipping goods is determined by referring first to the classes included in the NMFC and then consulting the applicable motor carrier rate schedules. These rate schedules are in turn dependent on factors such as shipment weight and the route and distance over which the shipment moves.
The NMFC also includes rules and packaging requirements for each type of commodity to ensure adequate protection for products moving in LTL motor carrier service.
The provisions of the NMFC constitute industry standards, which are developed and maintained by the National Classification Committee (NCC), an autonomous standing committee of 100 carrier representatives who are elected to represent the more than 1,100 motor carriers participating in the NMFC. The NCC's activities are regulated by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.
ClassIT, the online version of the NMFC, includes search capabilities that allow the user to add their own terms linked to classification items or other terms, as well as an embedded list of common terms that are not found in the NMFC. Hyperlinks allow users to see entire product groupings to ensure the proper description and class. Each link opens a new browser window, allowing for simultaneous viewing of different parts of the NMFC. A density calculator enables users to determine the density of a package, pallet or complete shipment in seconds.
Shippers may purchase a single-user license for ClassIT at $199. Multi-user discounts are available.