There are several factors that can affect your freight shipping cost, including:
- Mode of transportation
- Time sensitivity
- Freight class
- Facility type at shipment’s origin and destination
Additionally, a few things to consider when selecting a freight shipping carrier include value versus cost, timeframes, logistics network and more.
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To get an instant quote from preferred carriers for your freight shipment, use our easy freight quote calculator. For more information on what affects shipping costs, read on.
About Weight, Dimensions and Density
Which costs more to ship: 100 pounds of bricks or 100 pounds of feathers? If you guessed 100 pounds of feathers, then you are correct. This is because, when shipping freight, an important cost factor is an item’s density, or weight versus dimensions. In other words, 100 pounds of feathers takes up more space in a truck than 100 pounds of bricks, even though they weigh the same. Therefore, shipping the feathers would be more expensive.
Similarly, an item that is broken down into smaller pieces, making it easier to transport, can be less expensive to ship than when it is fully assembled. For example, let’s say you are shipping a dresser. The freight class for an assembled dresser (aka stand up, or SU) is 125, and the freight class for an unassembled dresser (aka knocked down, or KD) is 85.
When completely disassembled or knocked down flat, i.e. Ikea furniture, a dresser has a lower freight class than if it is assembled. The cost to ship a dresser from Florida to Texas costs $148.97 disassembled, but $161.86 assembled. Therefore, it is important to consult with a freight specialist to determine the most cost-effective way to ship your item.
Stowability, Fragility Liability, and Packaging
The shape, breakability and packaging can all play a role in determining freight shipping costs. For instance, along the same lines as our feathers versus bricks example from above, think about shipping a kayak, which could weigh anywhere from 35 to 60 pounds, and can range from under seven to over nine feet. Compare this with an item weighing the same amount that is packed in a crate or box and placed on a pallet. Which do you think will be more expensive?
LTL shipping loads are frequently unloaded and reloaded, making larger, more awkward items more difficult to ship. Additionally, larger kayaks are more likely to incur excessive length charges. Therefore, the price to ship a kayak will likely be more expensive than shipping a crated or boxed and palletized item boxed item of the same weight.
On the other hand, fragile and complex items also require special handling. These items might include: sensitive electronics and devices, fragile robotics and industrial equipment, commercial refrigeration and restaurant equipment and fixtures, furniture and other fragile goods. Consult your FreightCenter agent when shipping these types of items.
Mode of Transportation and Delivery Time
There are several different modes of shipping freight, including truck, train, ship or airplane. The mode of transportation often depends on the type of shipment as well as delivery time. For example, air shipping is a more expensive option but is ideal when you need to accommodate a deadline. On the other hand, truck (LTL) or train shipping tend to be less expensive but not ideal for tight deadlines.
An item’s freight class will have an impact on the freight shipping cost as well. An item’s freight class is determined by a standard called the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC). This classification system compares commodities and groups them into one of 18 classes, ranging from a class of 50 on the low end and up to 500 on the high end. This freight classification is then used in quoting to provide a more accurate estimate.
Essentially, freight classes describe an item’s transportability, taking into consideration its density, stowability, ease of handling and liability. Generally, the higher the freight class, the more expensive the item is to ship.
Need to determine an item’s freight class? Use our freight density calculator tool to get an item’s freight class based on dimensions and weight of your packaged freight.
Add-on delivery services can also impact freight shipping costs. For example, requesting a call before delivery, requesting inside delivery or delivering to a limited access location can all increase costs. Limited access locations can include: storage units, churches, schools, commercial establishments not open to the public, construction sites, farms and fairs or carnivals.
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