Industry Insights

A Guide to Freight Accessorial Charges

Stord Marketing



July 23, 2020

If you are a shipper, the term accessorial charges might make you blanche. Accessorial fees are a surcharge for additional services provided by the carrier. Consider them an additional fee for services not included in standard shipping. They are assessed in parcel service and trucking, but are most common with LTL carriers for LTL shipments. The shipper may not know what fees will be applied or assessed until the shipment is delivered. That makes a freight quote less reliable. The final freight charges may come as a surprise, making it imperative to understand these accessorial charges for the truckload while booking and planning for freight costs.

Accessorial charges

These are the common accessorial fees a shipper should know about.

Liftgate: Commercial trucks use a loading dock to directly load and unload the freight. A liftgate is needed when a loading dock isn’t available, to lower or raise the freight to the right level. Not every truck is fitted with a liftgate. Without one, the shipper may be subject to additional accessorial fees if the delivery can’t be completed as scheduled. Liftgate services can be hired, or a pallet jack can be used, though it’s best to know the needs in advance.

Lumper or driver load: Loading and unloading freight is not usually part of the driver’s job. If driver load or unload is needed, there will be a fee for these additional services. At a warehouse or distribution center, the shipper may pay a lumper fee for the warehouse laborers to do this work.

Layover: If the truckload cannot be loaded or unloaded at the appropriate time, the driver may need a layover for one or more days. That results in accessorial fees, as the driver can lose a day or more of work.

Oversized: If LTL freight uses more space than a pallet size, there may be an additional charge. That’s because carriers must reconfigure the truckload to fit the items. That oversize area, larger than a typical pallet, would be more than 12 feet.

Reclassification and reweigh: The reclassification and reweigh accessorial charges are linked to LTL shipping, as the basic LTL freight charges are based on shipment dimensions, weight, and freight class. Errors in these can cause additional work, impacting how the truckload is organized.

Bill of lading: If the bill of lading (BOL) needs correction, whether there’s a mistake or the wrong BOL is used, there may be additional costs.

Hazardous materials: A hazardous materials (hazmat) designation and documentation are required by the Department of Transportation for transport. Accessorial charges cover the additional paperwork and risk involved for hazmat transport.

Fuel surcharge: A fuel surcharge is standard. What changes in the fuel surcharge is the current price of fuel.

Redelivery: If the carrier can’t deliver the cargo on the first try, there will be redelivery accessorial fees.

Diversion miles: Like redelivery, a location change may require more time and fuel. In this case, the driver is told to go to a different location after arriving at the destination, which is further away. Diversion miles can be charged for this, as it requires more time and fuel and can impact the logistics provider.

Additional stops: Additional stops require an additional fee, because they introduce potential delays into the logistics provider’s schedule.

Detention time: Carrier delays are expensive, and detention time due to loading dock delays, labor shortages, business hours, consignee unavailability or other reasons, causes problems for the driver. The contract may include a two-hour window when there’s no detention charges for detention time, but it’s typically billed hourly. Detention charges may be negotiable during the contracting process.

Wait time: Most truckers allow for 1-2 hours of free waiting time to pick up a container or unload it. Once that expires, they will begin charging for the additional time spent waiting in line.

Storage: Carriers storing a delivery may charge a storage fee, which can be hourly or daily.

Truck ordered not used (TONU): TONU orders are the easiest to avoid, with better supply chain planning. Determining the cut-off time for cancelling a truck can minimize charges for TONU.

Limited access: Carriers will charge additional fees for delivery efforts outside the norm. That may include finding the consignee to accept the shipment, delivering to a convention center, military bases, construction sites, a residential area, or inside delivery.

While COVID-19 accessorial charges are not common in LTL shipping, they have been assessed in parcel shipping. Accessorial charges can add high costs from the logistics provider. Understanding these charges when getting a freight quote, and planning for them make the shipping process easier. Stord can help you avoid some of these additional fees on the warehousing and the trucking end. Ask us how.

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