In our last post, NMFC Codes for Freight Classification, we looked at the voluntary industry standard by which freight customers and carriers communicate about freight.
The NMFC classes commodities into one of 18 freight classes. These classes go from a low of 50 to a high of 500. Generally the lower the class, the less freight charge to the customer. The industry also utilizes two other pricing mechanisms for quoting freight: FAK, or freight of all kinds, and class exception.
FAK is when an NMFC standard is agreed upon between a shipper and carrier to refer to a consolidated shipment of various types of NMFC class commodities. Consolidated shipping, or pooling shipments, allows carriers to offer shippers deal rates as pooling freight lets them optimize the organization and movement of freight.
FAK allows much faster quoting on consolidated shipments as often there are many types of goods on a pallet. Figuring out each product’s NMFC class, which involves calculating density, stowability, ease of handling, and liability, can be extremely time consuming.
An example of FAK in action would be a carrier offering a shipper to ship all their items at NMFC class 150, when their commodities on a particular pallet (or on pallets) actually range in class from 125 to 200.
Class exception differs from FAK as a class exception covers a particular range of NMFC classes, whereas FAKs covers all freight classes. An example is a carrier offering all goods at NMFC class 50-150 would be treated at class 70, with anything above class 150 being shipped at standard rates.
From a shipper’s point of view, it is advised that you are careful using FAK’s and class exceptions. Although it may make things easier to line up your shipment, it may reduce the liability your carrier has in cases of loss or damage. Checking the details in the contract will help you be sure of the risks.
In terms of carriers, FAK’s and class exceptions are only beneficial to them if a shipper has both large volume and multiple class freight. For tips on negotiating general shipping rates, see our article 4 Tips on Negotiating Shipping Rates.
Something to keep in mind for those shippers using a freight broker: freight brokers require actual freight class information. Even if a shipper has an FAK deal in place with a particular carrier, a broker requires actual cost in assessing and negotiating the best deals.
Shippers also have other options in getting the best shipping rates from carriers. FreightPOP offers marketplace rates, which allows their customers to access the carrier partner discounts FreightPOP secures. FreightPOP allows multi-carrier rate shopping on their TMS dashboard, which is efficient and very easy to use.
To see more about our rate shopping tools, see below.