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How to determine your shipments Density/Freight Class

What is a Freight Class?


Different freight classes are designed to help you get common standardized freight pricing for your shipment when working with different carriers, warehouses, and brokers. Different freight classes (there are 18 of them) are based on weight, length, and height, density, ease of handling, value and liability from things like theft, damage, break-ability, and spoilage. 

How to determine the Density/Freight Class for your Shipment?

For LTL freight shipping, you’ll need to know the density of the freight being shipped. The formula for calculating density is below:

1 start by measuring the Length, width & height: L=Length, W=Width, and H=Height. Take a tape measure and measure the longest point of the piece of freight (not the pallet but the freight itself). Also, apply this same principle to the width (widest point of the shipment) and the height (highest point of the freight from the floor to the top) of the freight.

2 After measuring, let’s say this piece of freight comes out to 44 inches in length, 48 inches in width and 57 inches in height.

3 Now that we have our dimensions – 44L x 48W x 57H – we do the multiplication. 44x48x57=120,384 cubic inches.

4 Take 120,384 and divide that by 1728. (1728 is the number you will always use to divide your cubic inches by, no matter what!). 120,384/1728=69.66. 69.66 is now your Cubic Footage.

1 We know that our cubic footage is 69.66 but what is our weight? If you are going to be shipping freight, the last thing you want to do is estimate, eyeball, guesstimate or have a wild hunch about what the weight is. You want to invest in a proper, well calibrated, high durability freight scale. You also do not want to weigh just the items that you are shipping. You want to weigh the entire shipment (pallet, plastic wrap, items and all as they will be shipped).

2 After weighing your freight on your calibrated scale, the scale shows a weight of 957lbs.

3 Now that we have our weight of 957lbs we divide that weight by our cubic footage which was 69.66. 957/69.66=13.73 pounds per cubic foot.

Now that we have our density, or pounds per cubic foot, what is our Freight Class?

Freight class is almost always determined by where the density or poundage per cubic foot falls on the Full Range Density Chart (see chart image below)

We know that our density for this shipment is 13.73, therefore based on the scale above, our freight class would be Class 85 as 13.73 is more than 12 but less than 15 in terms of pounds per cubic foot. Now, whenever you are quoting this shipment it should be quoted at Class 85 so that the shipment is appropriately priced. However, factors apart from density can affect the price of a shipment.

****Getting the freight class wrong will cost you. If you incorrectly classify your item – it can be reclassified by the freight carrier. Disputing this is difficult, time-consuming  usually and it will cost you money (without discount).****

Click Below to Find Weight Classification

1. What is Less Than Truckload (LTL)?

 LTL stands for Less-Than-Truckload, which means the shipment does not completely fill an entire truck. Basically the freight being moved does not require a 48′ or 53′ trailer since the load would not fill the full-sized trucks.  


2. What are Pneumatic Tankers?


Pneumatic Tankers are vacuum-sealed, enclosed tanks. Their main advantages over other trailer types are:

  1. the ease of unloading the tank via the pneumatic system and…
  2. the cargo is in a vacuum-sealed tanker during transport, which prevents outside air from entering. This protects the product from moisture and contaminants such as germs and mould.

Pneumatic tankers can haul a variety of loads. Some of the most common are:

  • Building products: cement, sand, ash, and lime.
  • Chemical Products: Plastic pellets, industrial alcohol, dry and liquid chemicals
  • Food Products: Flour, sugar, grains (wheat, oats etc), starch


3. What are the specifics of LTL?


An LTLfreight shipment is typically palletized and ranges anywhere from 150 lbs to 10,000 lbs. Large Shipments over 10,000 lbs are usually moved by Full truckload (FTL, or truckload services).

LTL is usually completed between businesses that ship crates or pallets from dock to dock.  Some LTL involves residential delivery, appointment service deliveries, and lift gate trucks.