by James Durfee

Within the last 3 years, less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers have shifted away from the traditional National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) rate-setting formula.  In the past carriers assigned a distinct class rating to each different commodity.  Because of new scanning technology that allows carriers to weigh and inspect each shipment it has become easier to utilize more density-based pricing. Density-based pricing prices freight according to the weight per cubic foot of space (cubic feet) the shipment uses in the truck. This model has had a significant impact on shippers’ freight costs.  Due to this change, it’s important to understand the new pricing methods for LTL shipments, how it impacts rates and how to negotiate rate structures.


As background, the “class rating” assigned to LTL products, runs from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500. The higher the class the higher the cost. A rough rule-of-thumb is that using class 100 as the baseline, class 50 would essentially be 50% of the baseline cost and class 200 would approximate 200% of the baseline cost. This is a very rough approximation, but it illustrates how significantly costs can vary based on the CLASS RATING of a shipment. Class ratings are normally assigned using the following 4 characteristics:

  • Density – pounds per cubic foot
  • Handling – ease or difficulty handling product
  • Stow Ability – ability to effectively load product in the trailer
  • Liability – cost in dollars per pound to compensate pay for lost/damaged product.


Pure Density-Based pricing assigns a class to product just using the following formula:

  • Length x Wide x Height in inches= cubic inches / 1728 = cubic feet.
  • Divide weight of product (including pallet weight) by cubic feet = DENSITY

If the density = 6, the product would be classed at class 125

If the density < 4, the product would be classed at class 250

In this case the cost of the shipment could almost double if the density drops by 2 lbs./cubic ft. That’s a substantial difference and points out how important it is to understand the density of your product and how it is classified.  Remember, density-based pricing limits carrier liability.  The reduced insurance risk then falls back on the shipper to have additional insurance for high value items.

If you would like to discuss this topic further, contact one of our sales representatives at 804-729-8189.

By James Durfee



by James F Durfee, Vice President Business Transformation

Paper companies are typically in business to make paper, lots of paper! They then usually need a place, a big place, to store this paper before it is consumed. Logistics can sometimes become somewhat of an after- thought to the manufacturing process. When a major Paper Company in the Richmond area needed a rail-served location in Central Virginia to handle overflow Roll Stock, Riverside Logistics was there to help. With 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, served by the CSX railroad, and a staff trained and equipped to handle paper roll stock, Riverside flew into action and began receiving spill-over roll stock from the manufacturer via the CSX railroad. The boxcars kept coming and coming until over 75 thousand square feet of product was housed in Riverside’s warehouse. Riverside inventoried this product using its state-of-the-art WMS system. When it came time to ship the product out, Riverside arranged for all the local transportation necessary and utilized its dedicated fleet of carriers to move the product across the Richmond area.

Being rail-served and having the know-how and equipment to handle large rolls is just one of the many logistics capabilities of Riverside. Our combined total of almost 500,000 square feet of warehousing space in Central Virginia, with immediate access to the Port of Richmond and Norfolk, Interstate 95 and 64 for both East-West and North-South access and shipping uniquely positions us to competitively support all of our customers’ needs both long term and short term.

Legitimate Rail-served warehouses are becoming harder to find, especially in markets like Richmond. When you couple rail sidings with roll handling capability you end up with a fairly unique set of Logistics capabilities for customers needing these types of services.

Next time you need rail-served warehousing in Central Virginia, call us.

Why is Richmond, Virginia one of the best locations to distribute to the United States?

Richmond, the Capital of Virginia, is among America’s oldest cities, yet it is modern and vibrant. Eight presidents were birthed in Virginia. Patrick Henry declared, “Give me liberty or give me death” at its St. John’s Church, leading to the Revolutionary War. Today the revolution is growth! It is centrally located on the East Cost within about a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population.

Richmond is only a quick 90 miles from the major metropolitan areas of Washington, DC to the north and Norfolk/ Hampton Roads to the east. Today 18 Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in Virginia. Virginia has over 8 million people that enjoy world-class event facilities, hotels and entertainment.

Although Richmond and Virginia’s American History is notable the real story is how rapidly it is growing today!

  • Shipments can reach 70% of the U.S. population within 2 days
  • Shipments can reach 50% of the U.S. population within 1 day
  • Norfolk Port is only about and hour and a half away from Richmond.
  • The Richmond Port offers a very affordable alternative for companies to bring product further into the East Coast and avoid congestion.
  • 55% of the U.S. Population lives within a 750-mile radius
  • Richmond is home to the Federal Bank of Richmond one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks.
  • The population of the Richmond MSA exceeds 1,000,000
  • Cultural events and Entertainment reflect its growth into a cosmopolitan city.


Virginia has long been the best state for business.  


  • Business-first values

-Virginia’s leaders are committed to business’s needs, free enterprise, and maintaining a profit-friendly environment

-An experienced and professional economic development team—focused on concierge service and solutions for business

–  Right-to-work state—ninth lowest unionization rate in the country at 6.2%

  • Easy access to domestic and global markets

-Washington Dulles International Airport

-The Port of Virginia

-Two of the nation’s largest railroads operate in Virginia

  • Stable and low operating costs

-6% corporate income tax rate has not been increased since 1972

-One of the lowest average workers’ compensation costs and unemployment tax burden’s in the U.S.

  • Talented and educated work force

-Virginia has the 2nd highest concentration of tech workers in the nation in  2014, with nearly 1 in 10 workers in tech

-Approximately 22,000 doctoral scientists and engineers are employed in Virginia

—one of the highest concentrations in the nation

-Approximately 575,000 students are enrolled in over 100 in-state institutions of higher education

Highly-Skilled, Educated and Talented Workforce

Virginia successfully supports its substantial industry base with highly skilled and educated talent.  Employers in this right-to-work state find a vibrant, tech-savvy and diverse multi-cultural talent pool growing faster than the national average.

  • Virginia is a right-to-work state. At 6.2%, Virginia has the ninth lowest unionization rate in the country.
  • Population of 8.3 million, and a workforce of nearly 4.3 million.
  • One of the nation’s most educated workforces. One in three Virginians holds a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
  • Colleges and universities with campuses in Virginia enroll over 575,000 students, and over 96,000 Associate, Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degrees are awarded annually.
  • Strong occupational and technical training programs designed to meet manufacturers’ needs are provided by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) through its 23 colleges.
  • Thousands of highly trained, disciplined and motivated military personnel in Virginia enter the civilian labor force each year.

More than 22,000 Doctoral scientists and engineers are employed in Virginia (The National Science Foundation).

World-Class Transportation Infrastructure

The Commonwealth’s modern transportation infrastructure ensures optimal access to major east/west and north/south highways, local and international airports, seaports, rail lines, and shipping channels.

  • Virginia maintains the third largest state-maintained transportation network including the major Interstate routes of I-95, I-81, I-64, I-85, I-77, and I-66.
  • Fourteen commercial airports serve Virginia, including Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports, with non-stop commercial airline service to 158 destinations worldwide, including 50 international destinations.
  • Ten railroads operate on the state’s network of nearly 3,400 miles of railway (excluding trackage rights). Two of the nation’s largest railroads, CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern Corporation, are located here. Commuter rails near the larger cities allow workers to traverse efficiently.
  • The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is the Commonwealth’s leading agency for international transportation and maritime commerce and manages Virginia’s six general cargo terminals: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminals, Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth, Newport News Marine Terminal, the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal and the Port of Richmond.
  • The Port of Virginia is one of the three busiest container ports on the U.S. East Coast and a leading gateway for the entire U.S. market.  The Port boasts the single best infrastructure on the East Coast with a 50-foot ice free channel, no overhead obstructions, on-dock rail service (two Tier 1 railroads), easy access to ocean lanes, and is the only East Coast port with Congressional authorization to dredge to 55 feet.
  • Phase I of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (also known as the Silver Line) was completed in 2013 with four stops in Tyson’s Corner. The balance of the 23-mile, $6.8 billion project is scheduled to be completed in 2016, ending west of Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County.

State-of-the-Art Infrastructure

Virginia offers excellent power, water, telecommunications and other infrastructure resources necessary for success in today’s global marketplace, and maintains a stable energy resource pool to serve present and future residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation needs.

  • Virginia offers a robust telecommunications network with more than 60 broadband providers. It is one of the most connected states in the country. More than 93% of Virginians have access to wireline service, with 76% having access to wired broadband of at least 100mbps, and 98% have access to mobile broadband service.
  • Virginia is one of the most connected states in the nation with access to a robust fiber network that matches or exceeds virtually every domestic market and most major financial centers around the world. The Commonwealth hosts prominent commercial internet exchange points, and 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through the Metropolitan Area Exchange East located in Ashburn, Virginia. The Richmond area has been connected to Ashburn with “dark fiber” opening opportunities along the I-95 corridor. In Southern and Southwest Virginia, the benefits of a 1,500+ mile advanced fiber-optic broadband network connects more than 100 certified GigaParks.
  • Virginia also has the infrastructure to support multinational business, as evidenced by $19.2 billion in Virginia exports in 2014. There are six foreign trade zones designed to encourage business to participate in international trade.