Foodservice Equipment Reports

Motor Freight Carriers Target Warewashers And Air Curtains For Classification Changes

Last year it was commercial refrigeration that saw a significant boost in shipping charges, as the National Motor Freight Traffic Association’s Commodity Classification Standards Board changed the way it classifies such products. Freight costs for refrigerators and freezers have jumped as much as 30% to 50%. (See FER Fortnightly 12/03/14 here).

This year starts with a proposed change on commercial warewashers and air curtains that the CCSB has targeted for classification upgrades. Tim Walsh, v.p. at ReTrans Freight Management, a logistics company that serves many foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, alerted FER Fortnightly to the changes.

“The NMFTA is systematically re-examining its classifications, many of which are decades old and woefully out of date,” Walsh said. “Two years ago it was sinks, last year refrigeration and in 2015 dishwashers and air curtains are targeted for changes and we expect more items to follow this year.” He said new technology such as imaging equipment is helping LTL carriers better document shipment density and other “transportability” features.

If the proposed changes are approved at a meeting scheduled for Jan. 27, the costs of shipping warewashers in particular could soar. Product that is currently shipped without a corrugated container or other protective packaging will see even higher increases. The proposal for air curtains and doors could actually reduce shipping charges, depending on length and densities.

Dishwashers, as the current CCSB standards call them, are now separated into household and commercial types. The former has a classification of 100; the commercial products have a 92.5 classification. The current standards date from 1956.

The proposal eliminates the distinction between  household and commercial warewashers, but also separates the classifications into two tiers, one for product shipped in approved “boxes, crates or packages” and a second, with higher classifications, for those without protective packaging, such as machines shipped on a skid or pallet with just shrink-wrap. Products packed this way reported have higher liability issues. The proposal suggests classifications for the former group from 77.5 to 200, depending on density and 85 to 250 for product shipped without protective packaging. (Generally, but not always as other factors also come into play, the higher the density of an item, the lower the classification, and thus, the lower the shipping cost.)  Many warewashers could see classifications jump from the current 92.5 to 125 to 250, which will increase cost substantially.

The air curtain and door proposal breaks such products out of their current category of air conditioners and air handling equipment and creates a new category just for such products. The proposal calls for a classification of 110 for products less than 96 inches in length and 150 for items longer than 96 inches. Most air curtains under the current classification appear to be classed at 125 or 150.

Manufacturers and other shippers can challenge the proposals before or at the Jan. 27 meeting. Interested parties can contact Joe Ringer, chairman of the CCSB, at 703/838-1826 or at ringer@nmfta.org. The CCSB contact for warewashers is Shannon C. Allard, 703/838-1809, allard@nmfta.org; for air curtains the CCSB contact is Daniel E. Horning, 703/838-1820, horning@nmfta.org.

Tim Walsh can be reached at twalsh@retransfreight.com

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