The NMFTA, NMFC & CCSB CorrelationWritten by Neal Willis
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA®) is a non-profit membership of motor carriers headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. The NMFTA® is responsible for assigning carriers their Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC®), which is a unique two to four letter code that identifies a particular transportation company. All of the transportation companies assigned a SCAC® are listed in the directory of SCACS, which is also published by the NMFTA®. Different SCAC® groups are reserved for distinctive purposes and, except for the ones used for identifying freight containers who don’t exclusively operate in North America, rail cars, intermodal chassis and trailers, all SCACs are issued by the NMFTA®.
Additionally, the NMFTA® assigns a Standard Point Location Code® (SPLC) to different geographic locations in North America where transportation originates or is received. Any for hire interstate or intrastate motor carrier can become an NMFTA® member and, by becoming a member, it allows the motor carrier to serve on working NMFTA® committees and for them to participate in the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®).
The National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) is the standard by which commodities are grouped into a freight class based on four commodity characteristics: density, handling, stowability and liability. The NMFC® also stipulates packaging requirements and it encompasses the rules that govern the procedures for claims and claims filings. Through participation in the NMFC®, carriers are able to use and reference the NMFC® in their rules, tariffs and/or contracts.
The NMFC® is comprised of 18 different classes ranging anywhere from 50 – 500 and, as a general rule, the lower the class the lower the cost of shipping. The Commodity Classification Standards Board develops and maintains the NMFC® and the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA®) publishes it.
Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB)
The Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB) is an autonomous board comprised of no fewer than three but not more than seven full-time NMFTA® employees. The CCSB meets anywhere between three to five times per year and the public is made aware of their meetings in advance. Any proposed amendments to the NMFC® are published for the public to review at least 30 days in advance of the public meeting, where modifications are considered and accepted, denied or reconsidered for deliberation at a later date.
Any party with interest in NMFC® content can file a proposal. Information regarding future dockets, proposals, public meetings and on how to formally dispute proposed classification amendments and packaging standards can be found here. Unfortunately, more often than not, proposed amendments are passed with little to no contention from the shippers that are affected the most by the proposed alterations.
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