Freight Density Calculator to Help Determine Your Shipment Class
As one of the four main characteristics used to evaluate a commodity, correct calculation of your shipment's density and selection of the corresponding freight class can help you avoid transit time delays in your LTL shipping and unwanted surprises on your freight shipping invoice.
By calculating the correct density using our freight density calculator below, you can be on your way to correctly classifying your freight, determining an accurate LTL rate and likely avoiding a costly reclassification.
The Role of Freight Density in LTL Shipping
Some freight classes are density-based — meaning the ratio of weight to dimensions will influence the freight shipping cost. Typically, the lower the freight density, the higher the class and vice-versa. Freight density is used as one component along with your commodity's stowability, handling and liability to determine your shipment's freight class and National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) code, which ultimately helps determine freight rates.
How Freight Density is Calculated
Freight density is determined from the correct weight and dimensions of your shipment. You can determine your shipment density with the freight calculator above, or the general steps are:
- Determine the correct weight and dimensions of your shipment. The total weight includes the shipment and pallet, and dimensions in inches should be measured at the widest and tallest points, including the pallet.
- Calculate the volume in cubic inches by multiplying length x width x height. Example: 48" x 40" x 60" = 115,200 cubic inches.
- Convert to cubic feet: 115,200 / 1,728 = 66.7 cubic feet.
- The final density number, in pounds per cubic foot, is found by dividing the weight by the volume. For example: 275 pounds/66.7 cubic feet = 4.12 pounds per cubic foot.
Finding Your Density-Based Freight Class
You're on your way! Once you've determined your shipment dimensions and density, next stop is the NMFC website. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) establishes and maintains the National Motor Freight Codes, and these numbers help determine what freight class your shipment will fall under.
Your shipment is assigned an NMFC code based on the commodity the shipment contains, and then the shipment's freight class is determined based on four shipment characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. Correct classification will ensure an accurate LTL freight rate and bill of lading, and help you avoid reclassification fees and a potential shipping delay, so find the correct NMFC codes and freight classes at NMFTA.org.
Need help classifying your LTL Freight Shipping?
Determining your freight class can sometimes be confusing, so Unishippers has created a tip sheet to help you demystify density-based freight classification. As an industry-leading third-party logistics (3PL) provider, Unishippers provides access to best-in-class LTL shipping solutions, services, tools and technology that help you easily manage freight classification. To learn more about how we can help you, reach out to one of our shipping experts today!