The class of your freight plays a key role in calculating how much the carrier will charge you for transporting it. It’s a good idea to group same-class items together in StarShip, not only to properly class inventory but for ease of shipping and minimal data entry.

NMFC Codes and Freight Classes

LTL and TL companies have a number of ways to determine the price they charge to ship an item for you. The most common is Freight Class. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association issues a publication called the National Motor Freight Classification or NMFC. This publication is used as an industry standard to determine the ”classification” of shipments. The price you pay to ship an item is directly tied to its stated freight classification.

Freight class indicates item density and allows carriers to determine how many pounds per cubic foot your shipment will be. This tells the LTL carrier how many other shipments will practically fit into a trailer with your shipment in order to effectively fill it. Dense items such as building materials, steel, machinery, etc. have low classifications, such as Class 50 through 85. The lower numbered classes are the least expensive to ship. However, lower density or fragile items would occupy the highest numbered classes and are the most expensive to ship.


Ping pong balls are class 500 (the most expensive class) because of their lack of density. A carrier can fill an entire trailer full of ping pong balls without having much weight loaded. Since rates are based on weight and density, the rate for transporting ping pong balls is higher than it would be for something like heavy machine parts.

Besides defining the freight classes of shipping commodities, the NMFC also assigns numbers (codes) to each type of commodity. NMFC Codes and subcodes are used by freight shippers to rate shipments, as well as commodity classifications. Freight classes and NMFC codes are set up in Maintain > NMFC.


Grouping is a method of putting items with some common characteristics in a single organizational unit. You may have multiple versions of the same type of item that are designated by different item numbers but are classified according to the same NMFC code or class. You would create a group for the item type and specify the NMFC and class information for that group, so that each time you shipped an individual item that fit into the group, you would classify it by Group name and save time in preparing the BOL. Groups can also be used to consolidate items into one line on the BOL.

So, groups simplify the process of associating required shipping fields to any one inventory item, allowing you to categorize a collection of inventory items by NMFC code or class.


For example, let’s say you ship brass pipes, brass handles, etc. If all of these items have the same freight class, you could create a group called ”Brass Items” and assign a freight class. When shipping items that fall into this group in the future, you could simply assign them with the Brass Items group to automatically populate the NMFC and freight information. These items could also be listed in one line on the BOL.

Groups can be used in lieu of NMFC Codes. You can set up Groups in Maintain > Groups.