Freight Classification Codes: SPLC

Whether you operate in interstate, intrastate or foreign commerce, the National Motor Freight Association (NMFTA) is the organization that regulates your freight. Implementing standards for the classification of freight is their major contribution to the moving and storage industry.

Last week, we discussed one of the two very important classification codes the NMFTA is responsible for: SCAC. This week, we’re going to talk about the second freight classification code: SPLC. When it comes to your responsibility as a mover, adhering to agreed upon standards is essential to avoiding legal claims. Although your mover’s insurance can protect you, if you fail to obey national standards, it can be hard to have a case for yourself.

The Standard Point Location Code (SPLC) is a freight classification code that is designed to identify specific points in North America that “originate and receive transportation with their geographic locations,” according to the NFTA. Similar to SCAC, the SPLC is a numeric coding system.

Here are the basics:
• SPLCs are assigned to each point originating freight
• SPLCs are assigned to each point receiving freight
• Two digits are used to identify state, county and cite
• Three digits are used to identify sub-code
• The nesting system: State-County-City-SubCode
Each point is identified with a nine-digit number. These numbers can be broken down into five unique parts:
1. Part I of the first digit identifies the region
2. Part II of the first and second digits identify the state, province or territory
3. Part III identifies the county
4. Part IV is the fifth and sixth digits, which identify the part of  the area covered by the first four digits
5. Part V has two stipulations: If the seventh, eighth and ninth digits are “000”, the point is not defined beyond a city level. If they are anything aside from that, this is the sub-code level

The SPLC codes can be found on the NMFTA’s website. But remember, your trusted agents at Wolpert Insurance are always willing to answer any of your questions. We want you to be safe and secure no matter where your moving business takes you!

Freight Classification Codes: SCAC

No matter what business you are in, everyone shares one common concern: cost. Minimizing cost and maximizing profits is one of the cornerstones to a successful business. In the moving industry, minimizing costs is important to you, the mover, and to your clients, the shippers. Understanding how to classify costs in a way that also maintains your legal obligations is essential to running a successful moving business.

Just like your movers insurance, nationally agreed up on standards exist for one reason: to protect you. When it comes to classifications for your freight, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) has come up with two different standards for comparing commodities: Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC) and Standard Point Location Codes (SPLC). These exist to standardize pricing and standardize freight type.

Today, let’s break down what a Standard Carrier Alpha Code is.

• A unique two-to-four-letter code
• It is used to identify transportation companies – such as your moving company
• The NMFTA publishes a directory of all of the SCACs
• SCACs exist to facilitate computerization in the transportation industry – this means that you can obtain any information you need right off of the Internet

SCACs are typically required when doing business within the United States. They are also required by U.S. government agencies and a vast majority of commercial shippers. If you are involved with:

• The automotive industry
• The petroleum industry
• Forrest products
• Chemical industries
• Retail suppliers

You will be required to obtain accurate SCACs for your shipments. Many commercial shippers and receivers will include SCACs on their freight bill audit and even utilize them with payment systems.

The NMFTA assigns SCACs for all companies, although certain groups of codes are reserved for specific purposes. These include:

• Codes ending with the letter “U” – these are reserved for the identification of freight containers
• Codes ending with the letter “X” – these are reserved for the identification of privately owned railroad cards
• Codes ending with the letter “Z” – these are reserved for the identification of trucks and trailers used internationally

At Wolpert Insurance, we can always review your moving company’s legal requirements – including NMFTA regulations. All you have to do is give us a call! Be sure to check back next week when we go over the second NMFTA regulation: Standard Point Location Codes.

Shipping Hazardous Materials: A Quick Guide

When you are working in the moving and storage industry, you are likely to encounter a wide variety of materials. For the most part, it is safe to assume that people will ship literally anything. That is exactly why as a moving company, it is important to be aware of all of the different rules that apply to shipping. The Department of Transportation (DOT) takes certain rules especially seriously – particularly those associated with materials that can be deemed hazardous.

What materials are classified as hazardous?

The DOT classifies materials as hazardous when a material’s amount or form poses a risk to health, safety or property. This definition is in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law regulations. Any mover knows that these regulations are often strictly enforced on the roads.

What are the specific hazard classes?

• DOT Hazard Class 1: Explosives
• DOT Hazard Class 2: Gases
• DOT Hazard Class 3: Flammable Liquids
• DOT Hazard Class 4: Flammable Solids
• DOT Hazard Class 5: Oxidizers and organic peroxides
• DOT Hazard Class 6: Poisons and etiologic materials
• DOT Hazard Class 7: Radioactive Material
• DOT Hazard Class 8: Corrosives
• DOT Hazard Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Additionally, there is the classification ORM-D. This can include any material that poses a limited hazard during transportation. This can be due to packaging, form or even quantity.

It is important to take inventory of all of the materials in your shipment in your Bill of Lading (BOL) and review the classifications of any materials that may be considered hazardous. Once you accept a hazardous material for shipment, you are responsible for it. You want to note any specific shipping instructions or even prohibitions.

Paying attention to the rules can make all of the difference when it comes to costs and claims associated with your mover’s insurance. At Wolpert Insurance, our agents specialize in assisting the moving and storage industry with all of their liability needs. Give us a call today and we’ll answer all of your questions and help keep you safe when you’re out there on the open road!

How Do Insurance Companies Rate Moving Vehicles?

Owning a business comes with a great deal of responsibility and commitment. For the most part, when it comes to insurance, business insurance policies are general across the board. When you own a moving company, however, your insurance needs are unique to you. You should be insured like a moving company, and that’s different than a trucking company.

Insurance for moving companies is different than trucking coverage. Your coverage should be tailored to meet the unique needs you have. You want to eliminate gaps and avoid double coverage. Since cargo insurance is unregulated, every policy is different. You can have a policy that matches your exact needs in terms of limits.

State laws require commercial drivers of vehicles to obtain a minimum amount of automobile liability coverage. Although every state has different required limits, you may also want to consider additional policy supplements, such as:

• General liability
• Workers compensation
• Motor truck cargo
• Truck physical damage
• Umbrella  insurance
• Occupational accident
• Owner operator coverage

As an owner or operator of a moving company, you want to be sure you are protected from claims due to equipment, collisions and workers compensation. With movers insurance, you can obtain that protection. But you shouldn’t have to get a “cookie-cutter” policy. Regular truck and service truck rates are different. And often, there is a significant price difference (25-45% difference!)

At Wolpert Insurance, we understand that. That is why, when we quote your premiums, we take into account the extent of your business and the use of your vehicles. Our underwriters understand that perhaps your vehicles sit in front of a home or business all day long – and this can reduce your risk, and therefore, your premiums. Reduced exposure should mean reduced cost, shouldn’t it?

Isn’t it time you saw a difference in your premiums? If you want to see the difference our agents can make, give us a call or fill out an online quote form today!

What Is Included On A Bill Of Lading?

In the moving and storage industry, contracts and legal liability issues are commonplace. Last week, we talked about what is arguably the most important contract you are responsible for: the bill of lading, or BOL. First, it is important to understand what a BOL is. Next, you’ll want to understand exactly what is included on one.

Your bill of lading works as a receipt of freight services. It is required before you can move a shipment and legally binding. So what details are included?

•  The shipper’s name(s) and complete addresses
• The receiver’s name(s) and complete addresses
• The date of the shipment
• The number of units being shipped
• The type of packaging the shipment is in: Cartons, pallets, drums and skids are included in this detail
• The account numbers used between the businesses for order tracking
• Any special instructions for prompt and worry-free delivery
• A thorough description of the items being shipped: Be sure you include the material and the common name
• The NMFC freight classification for all items in the shipment
• The declared value of the shipment
• The exact weight of the shipment
• If the shipment contains a Department of Transportation declared hazardous material – a note stating that is included

As the owner or operator of a moving business, you want to make sure you do everything possible to protect you, your employees, and your shipments. Be sure to always review your bill of lading before shipment and make sure the carrier on pick up also reads it over. You want to avoid the tendency to “blindly” sign off on something without a thorough read-through. After all, if there are discrepancies between the BOL and the actual shipment, you could be liable!

Be sure you have the protection you need in the event of any unforeseen circumstances and review your mover’s insurance policy today. Remember, when you speak with one of the agents at Wolpert Insurance, we can help with all of your questions… from the bill of lading and beyond!