An Overview of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc. (NMFTA™) is a nonprofit membership organization headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. It is the world’s leading organization representing the interests of less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers. The association’s membership is comprised of motor carriers operating in interstate, intrastate, and foreign commerce.
NMFTA provides critical services to the industry in the form of classification standards, identification codes, digital operation standards, and support for cybersecurity within the industry.
These services specifically include the following:
The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC®) system. Through the NMFC book, and its digital companion ClassIT, the classification system gives shippers a clear and standard method by which to classify items for shipping. The NMFC system accounts for density, handling, stowability and liability in assigning classification numbers, which are then applied by carriers to determine shipping rates.
The NMFC system provides shippers with simple formulas to apply the above information and determine the classification for each item being shipped. The system saves time and money because carriers know the item’s classification is based on well-established industry standards, thus allowing them to confidently and accurately determine rates.
NMFTA administers and updates all classifications to reflect current realities in the industry. At the end of 2023, the NMFC book will be retired, and classification information can be found exclusively on the digital platform ClassIT.
Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC®). Established in the 1960s, these are exclusive three- or four-letter identification codes that are assigned to carriers. NMFTA is the official agency that assigns the codes. A carrier’s SCAC identifier is required for a wide variety of functions. The codes are recognized by the American National Standards Institute’s Accredited Standards Committee, as well as by the United Nations for electronic data interchange transactions.
SCAC codes are required for carriers to do business with U.S. government agencies and with many commercial shippers, including those in the automotive, petroleum, forest products and chemical industries.
Carriers can manage their SCAC codes and the related accounts through the SCAC 2.0 website, which was released in April 2023.
Standard Point Location Code (SPLC™). The SPLC assigns a unique code number to each originating point, and to each destination point, for shipments of freight in North America. The codes include two digits for each state, county and city, followed by three digits to represent the type of location each point represents. Users can easily search the database of SPLC online to obtain the correct information for the codes they need.
The Digital LTL Council. The Digital LTL Council brings together carriers, logistics service providers, shippers, and technology providers in developing a set of uniform standards that support the scalable automation and digitization of LTL shipments. NMFTA assumed administration of the Council in 2022.
In 2022, the Council finalized a set of industrywide standards for implementation of electronic bills of lading (eBOL). Work continues with a focus on shipment visibility and freight exception handling. It is currently leading and assisting the industry as it completes the process of implementing the eBOL standard.
Industry Cybersecurity Leadership. As the trucking industry accelerates the digitization of its operations and processes, the industry must also quickly get up to speed on the reality of cyberthreats – and master the knowledge and actions necessary to protect itself. NMFTA takes an industry-leading role in protecting the LTL trucking industry from threats such as phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, and cloud-based attacks – in addition to threats from seemingly innocuous sources like deceptive e-mails, a randomly discovered thumb drive or a disloyal insider.
Through frequent webinars, one-on-one interaction, support for events like the CyberTruck Challenge and, of course, our annual Digital Solutions Conference, NMFTA staff, directors, and members take the lead in making sure the entire industry understands the risks and knows the steps and strategies that can secure their assets and their enterprises from attacks that originate in the digital world.