2020 NMFC Changes Set to Shake Up Food Transportation

Food and beverage brands may be shipping product under a new NMFC class to start 2020 as the first round of updates are scheduled to take effect.

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) will institute its first 2020 NMFC changes on January 3, 2020.

This NMFC class update represents one of the most impactful changes for our food and beverage customers in recent memory.

Popular, voluminously shipped products will be affected by reclassification efforts as the new decade begins.

In addition, it furthers a trend that we are seeing in the LTL industry.

Previously, shippers were able to classify items under umbrella NMFC numbers that spanned a large variety of products.

The industry is moving away from these exceptions as the NMFTA is now requiring more vendors to inform carriers of exactly what their product is.

The impact of the first 2020 NMFC change stems from breaking up NMFC number 73227, which included anything that could be labeled as “foodstuffs.”

This was a catchall NMFC class that could include everything from barbeque sauce to vinegar-based cleaning products.

Shippers of sauces, spreads, nut butters, dressings, and other products that were able to ship as Item 73227 now must ship product under a new number and send at a different NMFC class.

Vendors need to be aware how the updates could reshape their classification procedures and shipping operations.

A simple NMFC class change could spell issues for your LTL transportation if not adequately prepared.

2020 NMFC Changes for Class 73227

The scheduled changes set to take effect in January are the first of three annually occurring changes the NMFTA makes each year.

The board receives appeals and submissions, which shape reclassification decisions that happen every four months.

Though many products previously designated as Item 73227 will be getting a new NMFC number and class, not all are forced to be reshuffled.

Here are the previous NMFC number 73227 products that will be affected:

      • Bean dip
        • New NMFC #74700
        • Will ship at class 65
      • Dressing
        • New #74700
        • Will ship at class 65
      • Baby food
        • New #72030
          • Less than 15 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) will ship at class 92.5
          • Greater than 15 PCF will ship at class 65
      • Nut Butter including peanut
        • New #72285
          • #72285 – 01 Powdered butter will ship at class 77.5
          • #72285 – 02 Not powdered will ship at class 65
      • Pectin – fruit or vegetable
        • New #73380 will ship at class 70
      • Purees – fruit or vegetable including applesauce
        • New #74510
          • In pouches and in boxes will ship at class 70
          • NOI, in boxes, drums, or packages will ship at class 60
      • Powder – baking, etc.
        • New #72041 will ship at class 65
      • Sandwich spread
        • New #74700 will ship at class 65
      • All Sauces including cooking sauces
        • New #74700 will ship at class 65
      • Tortillas or taco shells
        • New #74737 will ship at class 70

These changes represent a large section of food manufacturer products. Though wide sweeping in terms of items, the rate difference between their former and new classes should not be monumental.

Additionally, there are still several items that will retain their NMFC #73227 coverage for the time being.

For a full breakdown of what the changes will look like here is the complete update list.

What Are the Impacts of Shipping at a Different NMFC Class?   

When the NMFTA releases reclassification changes, it does not always mean huge fluctuations to your shipping operation even if your product is affected.

Especially, if you are prepared for an update.

Freight classes determine what price a carrier will charge to haul items and what liability they offer. Therefore, freight class changes typically mean a shift in cost.

It is critical that you understand exactly which class a product should use and accurately convey that information to your carrier.

Being prepared and properly classifying your pallets can help you avoid unnecessary fees and added costs down the road.

Carriers can charge reclass, reweigh, rework, and other accessorial fees if you intentionally or unintentionally send product at the wrong class. These fees can also hit months after your shipment is complete, when the carrier undergoes an audit.

There’s no up-side to putting the wrong classification on your bill of lading.

That is why it’s important to stay informed around NMFC and its relation to LTL freight classes.

Partnering with a 3PL Can Help You Navigate NMFC Changes

This is just the first 2020 NMFC change of the year. While we can’t say for certain, it is reasonable to speculate that umbrella NMFC numbers will continue to be a focus for the NMFTA.

These large spanning terms are likely to again be broken up and products reclassified to their own item number and different freight class.

If that is the case, partnering with a knowledgeable 3PL can help you stay informed and prepared for changes when they do happen.

At Zipline Logistics, we proactively work with our customers to ensure a smooth transition when NMFC changes occur. While there is potential for other unforeseen impacts tied to these class changes, we are standing by to help shippers navigate the changes.

To talk to one our LTL freight specialists about the NMFC changes or hauling your product, contact Zipline Logistics.

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