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As a shipper, the last thing you want is an unwanted surprise when you get your freight bill. Before the additional fees add up, it pays to know your accessorial charges beforehand

Accessorial charges, sometimes referred to as value-added services, are additional fees that may be added to a shipment’s transportation cost. These charges are applied to cover the cost of extra time, labor, or care required to honour special shipping requests. Accessorial fees vary based on the type of shipment and can quickly add up, making it important for shippers to understand what they are and how they can reduce them.

What Are Accessorial Charges?

Accessorial charges are extra fees that are added to the base price of a service, primarily in industries that involve transportation, logistics, and deliveries. They are typically applied when certain conditions or requirements are not met, or additional services are needed. Essentially, they cover the “accessories” of the primary service. Similarly, these charges are designed to compensate for the extra time, effort, or resources required to complete a job.

Since accessorial charges can significantly impact a shipment’s total cost, it’s essential for shippers to understand them to avoid unexpected expenses. By planning and minimizing these charges, shippers can reduce their transportation costs thus improving their bottom line. In the following sections, we will explore what accessorial charges are, why they are important, and how you as a shipper can reduce them.

Understanding Accessorial Charges

It is essential to note that accessorial charges are not included in the standard shipping rates and are typically added on top of the base cost of the shipment. These fees can vary depending on the carrier and the specific services required, making it critical to review and understand all charges before finalizing a shipment.

Common accessorial charges can include a wide range of fees, such as liftgate services, inside delivery, residential surcharges, and fuel surcharges. Carriers and freight brokers may apply these fees for various reasons, such as extra labor or equipment needed to complete a shipment.

Types of Accessorial Charges

When it comes to shipping, accessorial charges can add up quickly. These additional fees are charged for any services beyond standard pick-up and delivery. To help you better understand what to expect, here are some common types of accessorial charges that you may encounter:

Loading and Unloading Fees

Loading and unloading fees are charged when a shipment requires additional labor or equipment to load or unload. This may include the use of a forklift, loading dock, or extra labor. These fees can vary depending on the carrier and the specific requirements of the shipment.

Delivery Related Charges

Delivery related charges include any additional services required at the delivery location. This may include inside delivery, residential delivery, or liftgate service. Inside delivery is charged when the shipment needs to be delivered beyond the front door, while residential delivery is charged for deliveries made to residential areas. Liftgate service is charged when the delivery location does not have a loading dock or forklift available.

Fuel and Time Related Charges

Fuel and time related charges are fees that are charged based on the distance traveled and the time required to complete the delivery. Fuel surcharges are added to the base rate to cover the cost of fuel, while detention charges are charged when a shipment is delayed at either the pick-up or delivery location. Layover charges may also be charged when a driver is required to wait for an extended period of time.

Special Handling and Equipment Charges

Special handling and equipment charges are fees that are charged when a shipment requires special handling or equipment. This may include hazardous materials, oversized or overlength shipments, or extra services such as reclassification or reweighing. Hazardous materials require special handling and may require additional documentation, while oversized or overlength shipments may require special permits or equipment.

Documentation and Reclassification Charges

Documentation and reclassification charges are fees that are charged when a shipment requires additional documentation or reclassification. This may include the preparation of a bill of lading (BOL) or freight invoice, as well as reclassification and reweighing of the shipment. The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) number is used to determine the correct classification for a shipment, and any errors in classification can result in additional fees.

Additional Types of Accessorial Fees

Provided you know the scope of accessorial charges, they can be anticipated and included on the initial bill. Additional reasons for these charges may include:

  • Layover Charges
  • Re-consignment
  • Stop Charges
  • TONU (Truck Ordered and Not Used)
  • Detention
  • Limited Access Pickup or Delivery
  • Blind Shipments
  • Sort and Segregate

Overall, understanding and being familiar with the various types of accessorial charges can help you better prepare for the total cost of your shipment. By working with a reputable carrier or freight broker, you can ensure that you are aware of any potential fees and can make informed decisions about your shipping needs.

Accessorial ChargesStrategies to Negotiate and Reduce Accessorial Charges

When it comes to reducing accessorial charges, negotiation is key. By working with carriers to establish clear expectations and guidelines, shippers can reduce the number of accessorial charges they incur. Here are some strategies to help shippers negotiate and reduce accessorial charges:

Planning and Communication

One of the most important strategies for reducing accessorial charges is effective planning and communication. Shippers should work closely with their carriers to establish clear expectations for pick-up and delivery times, as well as any special requirements for loading and unloading. By providing carriers with accurate information in advance, shippers can help ensure that shipments are delivered on time and without incident, reducing the need for additional charges.

Accurate Information

Another key strategy for reducing accessorial charges is providing carriers with accurate information about the shipment. This includes the weight and dimensions of the shipment, as well as any special handling requirements. By providing carriers with accurate information, shippers can help ensure that the shipment is loaded and transported safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of damage or delays that can result in additional charges.

Advance Notification

Shippers should also provide carriers with advance notification of any changes to the shipment, such as a change in delivery address or a delay in pick-up. By providing carriers with advance notification, shippers can help ensure that the shipment is delivered on time and without incident, reducing the need for additional charges.

Negotiation

Finally, negotiation is key to reducing accessorial charges. Shippers should work closely with their carriers to negotiate rates and establish clear guidelines for when accessorial charges will be assessed. By establishing clear guidelines and negotiating rates in advance, shippers can help ensure that they are not surprised by unexpected charges and can budget accordingly.

In conclusion, shippers can reduce accessorial charges by effective planning and communication, providing carriers with accurate information, providing advance notification of any changes to the shipment, and negotiating rates and guidelines with carriers. By following these strategies, shippers can help ensure that their shipments are delivered on time and within budget.

Role of Logistics in Managing Accessorial Charges

Logistics plays a crucial role in managing accessorial charges. Accessorial charges refer to additional services that a carrier provides beyond the standard shipping services.

Logistics companies are responsible for managing accessorial charges by negotiating with carriers to ensure that the charges are reasonable and fair. They also work with shippers to identify potential accessorial charges and develop strategies to minimize them. By doing so, logistics companies can help shippers save money and improve their bottom line.

In addition to negotiating with carriers, logistics companies also use technology to manage accessorial charges. They use transportation management systems (TMS) to track shipments and monitor carrier performance. This technology allows them to identify potential accessorial charges and take action to prevent them from occurring. For example, if a shipment is delayed due to weather conditions, the logistics company can work with the carrier to avoid detention charges by rescheduling the delivery time.

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are particularly adept at managing accessorial charges. They have the expertise and resources to negotiate with carriers and manage the entire shipping process. 3PL providers can also provide shippers with access to a network of carriers, which can help them find the best carrier for their specific needs.

In the logistics industry, managing accessorial charges is essential to maintaining profitability. By working with carriers and using technology to manage these charges, logistics companies can help shippers save money and improve their bottom line. Effective management of accessorial charges requires a combination of negotiation skills, technology, and expertise, all of which logistics companies possess.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common accessorial charges in the trucking industry?

Accessorial charges are additional fees that carriers and brokers charge for services beyond standard pick-up and delivery. Some common accessorial charges in the trucking industry include detention fees, liftgate fees, inside delivery fees, and re-delivery fees.

What is the difference between an accessorial charge and a surcharge?

An accessorial charge is a fee for a specific service that is not included in the base rate, while a surcharge is an additional fee added to the base rate to cover fuel, security, or other costs. Accessorial charges are typically more specific and relate to services provided, while surcharges are more general and relate to overall costs.

How do accessorial charges affect shipping costs?

Accessorial charges can significantly impact shipping costs, especially for less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. Truckload accessorial charges are often added to the base rate and can vary depending on the type of service required. Shippers should be aware of these charges and factor them into their shipping costs.

Can accessorial charges be negotiated or waived?

Accessorial charges can sometimes be negotiated or waived, especially if a shipper has a long-standing relationship with a carrier or broker. However, it is important to note that not all charges can be waived, and carriers and brokers may have different policies regarding negotiation.

What is the typical range of accessorial charges for LTL shipments?

The typical range of accessorial charges for LTL shipments can vary depending on the carrier or broker and the specific service required. However, some common charges include detention fees ranging from $25 to $100 per hour, liftgate fees ranging from $50 to $100, and inside delivery fees ranging from $50 to $100.

Are accessorial charges the same for all carriers and brokers?

Accessorial charges are not the same for all carriers and brokers. Different carriers and brokers may have different policies and fees for specific services. Shippers should be aware of these differences and factor them into their shipping costs when comparing carriers and brokers.