What are Accessorial Charges in Transportation?

Melton Logistics – 02/28/2024

Accessorial charges refer to additional services or charges associated with a shipment beyond the standard costs associated with the transportation of your products. Examples include liftgate service, inside residential delivery, fuel costs above an established baseline, detention, stop-off charges, or scale/reweigh charges. 

What Changes are Considered Accessorial?

By definition, accessorial charges include any fee added by transportation providers for a service that rises above that of a standard pick-up or delivery. These fees apply to any mode of transportation. Shippers and transportation providers need to maintain exemplary communication throughout the transportation process. This way, there will not be any surprises or delays when the invoice(s) are processed. 

Accessorial charges vary in the amount charged and, in some cases, may not have a monetary charge associated with them. Some of the most common accessorial charges include, but aren’t limited to:

Two people having a conversation over a clipboard

• BOL Correction – This occurs when a shipper provides incorrect information on the BOL at the shipment origin but needs to be corrected while the shipment is en route.

• Driver Assistance – If a load requires driver assistance to load or unload the product. 

• Fuel Surcharge – Based upon the EIA index and an established baseline. It is designed to minimize the impact of rising fuel costs for transportation providers. 

• Layover – Occurs when a truck/driver can’t deliver as expected and has to wait another day to complete the shipment

• Detention – This occurs when the driver/truck is detained at the shipper or consignee beyond the mutually agreed upon loading/unloading time. 

• Out-of-Route/Circuitous Miles – a change to the pickup or delivery requires the driver to travel out-of-route miles to provide services.

• Overdimensional Permits – If a load exceeds legal dimensions and requires the carrier to secure over-dimensional permits

• Lumper Charges – Charges for a third-party laborer to assist with the loading or unloading of products. 

• Truck Ordered Not Used – The truck is canceled on the day it is supposed to ship or after the truck has arrived. 

Who Pays for Accessorial Charges?

The customer that is responsible for the shipping costs is also responsible for any accessorial charges incurred by the transportation provider. Most accessorial charges are added to the freight bill upon securing the carrier’s service. If any additional or unexpected services or charges are incurred throughout the transportation process, those are added to the final bill. 

How to Keep Accessorial Charges in Check

While some accessorial charges are unavoidable, there are a few common methods shippers implement to limit these additional charges:

• Double-check the shipment’s size and weight – If there are errors in the booking process (like incorrect dimensions or BOL errors) these can lead to additional charges. 

• Driver Assistance – Communicating with the transportation provider and the consignee will ensure that everyone is ready to load, unload, and transport the product while eliminating any unscheduled and costly delays. This same communication will ensure that the correct equipment is secured for your shipment thereby eliminating “over-buying” with a more expensive mode of transport.

Mitigating Accessorial Charges with a 3PL

Choosing the right third-party logistics provider can assist in avoiding costly and unexpected accessorial fees. Melton Logistics is experienced in a variety of transportation modes which assists our shippers in expecting and anticipating the unexpected when it comes to fees and charges. How can we assist you with your shipments and identifying these potentially costly fees? 

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