What Are Accessorial Trucking Charges & How to Avoid the Most Common Freight Charges

Whether you ship daily or once a month, you’ve more than likely incurred accessorial trucking charges. These additional transportation charges are extra expenses charged to you or the receiver for service that was offered outside of normal procedures. 

No matter the size of your company, it’s imperative you have a strategic eye on and plan to manage these unforeseen freight charges. Let’s take a closer look at accessorial trucking charges as well as a few strategies you can use to manage these costs.

What Are Accessorial Trucking Charges?

Any cost or charge that isn’t a simple per-mile fee can be classified as a type of accessorial transportation charge. Accessorial trucking charges are typically a flat fee and may be levied when something moves the shipment out of the realm of routine drop-off and pickup. For example, truck drivers may have to wrap pallets, unload trailers, or take extra steps; and these charges may not be included in the per-mile shipping rate. 

An accessorial freight charge is an extra fee for things that make shipments more difficult for the trucking company. You can think of accessorial transportation charges as a-la-carte fees. Due to the lack of industry standardization, accessorial transportation charges can vary from carrier to carrier. At the same time, what the carrier charges for and the amount they charge can fluctuate.

How Much Are Accessorial Trucking Charges

The cost of an accessorial service can vary from carrier to carrier. This charge can be presented as a percentage of the overall cost of shipment or as a flat fee included in the overall cost of the shipment. On the other hand, some carriers may charge for certain accessorials while others may not charge for the same thing. 

Accessorial trucking charges are highly dependent on the actual trucking company. Because of this, it’s imperative to discuss accessorial freight and cargo charges, so you’ll have a solid understanding of what’s included. 

It’s also worth noting if you know you’ll need an accessorial trucking service beforehand, scheduling it can help you circumvent extortionate fees and a surprising final bill. Examples of accessorial trucking charges include:

  • A pallet jack charge is when the driver needs to unload or load a trailer with a pallet jack.
  • Shrinkwrap charge is when the carrier needs to shrink wrap your pallets.
  • A Detention charge is when the driver or trailer is kept for an excessive amount of time. 
  • Truck Ordered Not Used (TONU) charge is when your load falls through. You could be charged based on the cut-off time determined by your carrier. 
  • A layover charge may be levied if you cause a layover. 
  • Storage charge is when the carrier has to store the delivery. 
  • A diversion mile charge is when the driver has to drive to an alternate location after arriving at the predetermined address.
  • An additional stop charge is when the carrier needs to stop at more than one location to deliver or pick up a shipment. 

Accessorial Trucking Charges vs Surcharges

One of the largest unforeseen freight costs are accessorials. However, trucking accessorials are different from surcharges. In the most simple sense, a surcharge is a fee that is added to the base cost of transporting your goods. 

While similar, the biggest difference between surcharges and accessorial trucking charges is that accessorials are assessed post-shipment. To a certain degree, you can budget and plan for anticipated surcharges and special service codes. 

Because accessorial trucking charges aren’t applied at the point of manifest or included in the regular invoice, they can be exceptionally difficult to factor into your supply chain budget or logistics budget. As such, accessorial freight charges can represent a source of confusion and can be a major thorn in your side as you look to budget, plan, and keep shipping costs manageably low. 

3 Common Accessorial Transportation Charges & How to Avoid Them

As we previously mentioned, there are a number of different accessorial trucking charges. However, here are three of the top accessorial freight charges you may see as well as ways you can avoid them. 

Liftgate Service Accessorial Transportation Charge

The liftgate is a hydraulic lift on the back of the truck that can raise to place freight on or lower to remove the freight from the truck. If there is no loading area at a location, it may require a liftgate, which means you’ll incur a liftgate accessorial trucking charge. 

How to Avoid or Manage the Accessorial Liftgate Fee?

Avoiding or managing this fee starts with knowing whether the destination has a loading dock before booking the shipment. And if you do need a liftgate, it’s best to book it from the beginning. 

This is important because not every truck has a liftgate, which means the driver could arrive at the destination without the proper equipment to make the delivery. This means your shipment could be late (an extra accessorial fee) and will need to be redelivered (another accessorial freight charge). 

The Reclassification Accessorial Trucking Charge

All LTL shipping fees are based on the dimension of the shipment, weight, and classification. Identifying the value, size, and difficulty of your freight, the freight class determines the carrier’s shipping charges. 

In total, there are 18 different freight classes spanning from 50 up to class 500. The reclassification accessorial freight charge is levied whenever the carrier inspects your shipment and has to reclassify it, resulting in extra fees. 

How to Avoid the Reclassification Accessorial Freight Charge?

Avoiding the reclassification accessorial charge can be simple: provide accurate freight class in the beginning. And to do so, make sure you:

  1. Have the accurate weight of the shipment
  2. Capture accurate measurements of your pallet, including width, length, and height.
  3. Rely on the National Motor Freight Classifications book to source the classification number for your shipment.

The Reweigh Accessorial Freight Charge

The reweigh accessorial freight charge is levied when the weight on the carrier’s scale doesn’t match the weight on the Bill of Lading (BOL).

How to Avoid the Reweigh Accessorial Freight Charge? 

There are a few steps you can take to avoid the reweigh accessorial freight charge, including:

  1. Make sure the weight you list on the BOL is exact. This shouldn’t be rounded down, rounded up, or estimated because your carrier’s scales are very sensitive and precise. 
  2. Ensure the gross weight of the shipment listed on the BOL includes the weight of the pallet and all packaging. 
  3. Keep in mind carriers do keep track of those who are repeat offenders. If it happens enough, they can refuse to ship your cargo. 

Contact Trans Audit to Automatically Audit Your Accessorial Trucking Charges

It seems as if there are thousands of potential accessorial trucking charges that can be levied by carriers. And unfortunately, a large number of these charges may be improperly billed or incorrect. 

At Trans Audit, we offer a state-of-the-art service designed to ensure you’re being properly billed. We will establish a recurring data feed for continual cost verification and management. When we do find overbilling or overpayments, we will automatically obtain refunds and deliver cost efficiency recommendations to optimize contracts and billing. 

Contact Trans Audit today to initiate your savings. 

Supply Chain Brief

Client portal