The Basics of Less Than Truckload Accessorial Fees

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When you need to ship freight there are many options and factors that play a part in your decision. If you are considering a less than truckload (LTL) service, it can be intimidating to understand everything that is involved in the process. When embarking into the transport and logistics industry, there is a plethora of rules and fees to unravel. This can be particularly confusing for new shippers who are unfamiliar with LTL charges. One of the essential factors to understand is the accessorials.

Effectively, an accessorial is any additional service that the freight carrier provides for shipping. With each accessorial comes fees. The fees build with each extra service added to the shipping. Sometimes shippers do not highlight the need for the accessorial and it results in large, unplanned fees at the end.  

If you are just starting to use LTL for shipping or want to understand more about the process, a good place to start is with your third-party logistics (3PL) provider. The 3PL provider is able to identify what accessorials different shippers may need. Individual, first-time shippers will incur different accessorials to business shippers. Deciphering what accessorials you need is one of the most important parts of LTL.

If you fail to articulate what accessorials are required, the additional fees will start to add up. These fees accumulate and are passed onto the customer in the Bill of Landing. Unfortunately, fees aren’t the only negative of unaddressed accessorials. Shipments can experience delays when accessorials aren’t identified properly. If the shipping company isn’t equipped to accommodate the additional requirements, it will take longer than expected.

Types of Common Accessorial Fees

Fuel Surcharges

This accessorial fee is very prevalent with LTL shipments. An added fee is incurred due to a high consumption of diesel gas. The excess fuel charges can differ with carriers so it’s important to compare different options.

Residential Fees

When a shipment item needs to be picked up or delivered to a residential address additional fees are often charged. Any non-business location will generally be billed for this accessorial fee. Residential sites are extra since they do not have a loading dock. Therefore, a lift gate may be required.

Lift Gate

If your shipment is being picked up or delivered to a location without a loading dock, another accessorial fee will be charged. The LTL carrier needs a lift gate to execute the movement of pallets as the pallets need to move up and down to be transported around.

Extreme Length

If shipments are oversized they will need specific equipment to be transported. Shipments that are bigger than average are charged more for the inconvenience of catering to obscure sizes.

Specific Delivery Time

When shipments need to be delivered at a specific time, an accessorial fee will most likely be charged. These deliveries require more coordination and they often spend time liaising with a facility representative.

These are a few of common accessorial fees that LTL shipments charge. Each situation is unique and will incur different accessorial fees. For example, a business who is trying to move inventory stock to another warehouse will get charged differently to a business moving inventory stock to a residential area. If the warehouse can only accept the inventory stock delivery at a certain time, more fees could be incurred.

It’s best to make yourself aware of the potential accessorial fees and work diligently to mitigate them so it doesn’t come as a shock at the end. Being proactive and comparing carriers is a viable option to making your LTL shipping experience a positive one.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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