LTL Shipping: What Is An Accessorial?

13 min read

In the world of LTL Freight, there are times when a shipment needs a little bit of extra TLC. Whenever quoting a shipment, the portal that you use (or at least one worth its salt) will ask if any accessorial services need to be performed to complete the shipping process.

There are many types of accessorial fees in the world of LTL, but more often than not, it comes down to a select handful that we will discuss below. And, depending on the particular carrier that is designated to handle the shipment, the price for such services will vary.

There are two separate types of accessorial fees: Before The Fact and After The Fact. Before The Fact accessorials are services that you know for sure will need to be performed either before or during transit. After The Fact accessorials are those that come during transit that were not anticipated or that had to be performed during or after delivery in order for the transit of the shipment to be completed.

Before The Fact Accessorial

  1. Liftgates: A Liftgate is a mechanical device on the back of an LTL trailer that will raise or lower freight down to the ground or into the trailer. This device is most often used when either the shipper of freight or the receiver of freight does not have a loading dock, or when a shipment is being delivered to a residence. Anytime a lift gate has to be used at either pick up or delivery, the charge can range anywhere from around $20 to $100 or more.
  2. Residential: A Residential is exactly what it sounds like. It is when a freight shipment has to be picked up or delivered to a residence. What qualifies as a residence is often up for interpretation based on the freight carrier. However, any time the delivery is going to a place that is zoned by the USPS as a “residential zone” as opposed to a “business zone”, a residential fee will apply. Also, most carriers will still consider a shipment as being residential when the delivery address is actually a business run off of a residential property but is still not in a business zone. For example, Larry’s Repair Shop that he runs out of his garage, while still functioning as a business, will count as a residential. Residential deliveries usually will cost anywhere from $20 on up to $150 or more, depending on the carrier.
  3. Inside: Inside fees can be applied when, in order for a shipment to be picked up or delivered, the driver of the freight has to physically go into either the pickup or delivery location and personally move the freight to the trailer or place the freight in the hands of the recipient. This is most often employed in the case of residential pickups or deliveries, or in the case of a limited access delivery to an office, military base, school, church, hotel, etc. The cost of an inside delivery usually ranges anywhere from $50 to $150 or more.
  4. Call Before Delivery/Appointment: This accessorial comes into play whenever a shipment requires a call ahead from the driver to the recipient or the recipient requires an appointment be made by the destination terminal in order for the consignee to be able to accept the freight. LTL carriers will NOT make pick up appointments and very rarely will do a call ahead prior to picking up. This particular type of service can at times be a free service that the carrier provides, but in some cases, can range anywhere from $10 to over $100.
  5. Trade Show: Whenever a shipment has to be picked up from or delivered to a trade show or advanced warehouse, carriers will impose a Trade Show fee. This fee will be imposed regardless of whether or not the items are being picked up from or being delivered directly to the show or to an advanced warehouse or holding area. Trade show fees vary by carrier but run anywhere from $40 to several hundred dollars. It is wise when booking a trade show shipment to discuss the exact details with a Ship Support Specialist from the logistics service you are using (CaseStack, SupplyPike, etc.) in order to make sure that the shipment is priced and processed appropriately. This can work wonders for making sure that, not only is the shipment priced appropriately, but that it is handled properly; Trade Show shipments tend to be of a higher priority in nature than a standard, daily shipment of consumer goods. One easy aspect of trade shows is that they are all classified the same way and under the same NMFC number regardless of their density. All trade show shipments are listed under NMFC 154630, “Paraphernalia, exhibition or trade show, NOI; or Booths or Stalls, exhibition, NOI, KD; in boxes, crates or trunks.“
  6. Limited Access: This is an accessorial charge that is most open to interpretation by freight carriers. While some pick up or delivery locations may or may not be considered limited access, there are a few that are always going to be considered limited access by carriers. These fees generally run anywhere from $35 on upwards of a couple hundred dollars. Sites almost always considered to be limited access are Construction Sites, Prisons/Schools/Court Houses/Military Bases (basically any government or municipal building), Farms/Co-Op’s, Ports/Docks, and any facility requiring a special pass and/or appointment. A good rule of thumb is that anytime the pick up or delivery point is not a standard business/warehouse with a dock, then it is quite possible that the location will be considered some form of limited access.
  7. Protect From Freezing: When goods need to be shipped and maintained at a temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes necessary to go with a carrier who offers freeze protection. Not all carriers offer it; many have very narrow policies as to when they can even provide such a service and different carriers charge differently for this service. Some carriers, such as Estes or USF Holland, charge a flat rate of $10-$20 dollars, whereas other carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, charge by the pound.
  8. HAZMAT: Whenever a particular item qualifies as being hazardous material, it must be shipped as such and under very strict guidelines and statements upon the BOL. Any item that is hazardous will have to have its UN number listed on the BOL as well as the hazard class and packing group. Usually, this needs to be listed in the “Special Instructions” section and often times in the product description itself. “UN#1760, corrosive liquid n.o.s (aluminum chloride hydroxide sulfate ) class 8, PG III” would be an example of a commonly shipped item that is classified as HAZARDOUS. First, the UN # is clearly stated, followed by the description of the product as noted in the 49 CFR manual and ERG handbook (see below), as well as the hazard class and the packaging group. If you ship hazardous materials on a semi-regular basis, it is wise to keep a regularly updated copy of the 49 CFR Manual. This book will have listings of every type of hazardous material, and when, why, and how it is classified and packed. Another useful print source is the ERG Handbook, a pocket-sized book that every truck driver carries. It is updated every year or two and works like a condensed “Readers Digest” version of the 49 CFR. The fees for shipping HAZMAT are often quite affordable, in some cases as little as $10. Certain carriers do charge a higher fee, or will not ship certain hazardous materials due to certain federal and state regulations, and some freight carriers simply will not ship hazardous materials under any circumstances. It is highly advisable to check with Ship Customer Support before booking any hazardous material to make sure that a carrier has been chosen who will transport the materials and that the fees are properly applied.
  9. Sort & Seg: This type of accessorial charge comes up whenever, upon pick up or (most often) delivery, a shipment has to be sorted and segregated by the driver. This typically occurs at food distribution facilities/warehouse but can occur anytime the driver is responsible for taking individual pieces of a freight shipment and placing them in their appropriate locations at a particular pick up or delivery location. Most carriers generally charge a blanket fee for this type of service up to a certain amount of pieces and each additional piece above that particular amount will be charged individually.
  10. Single Shipment: This is a rare type of accessorial that a select few carriers still have a policy in regards to. It is a policy that adds a “Single Shipment” fee onto any order that is only one piece which weighs less than 500 pounds. Ship Customer Support will be able to let you know ahead of time if a particular carrier that you have chosen will charge this particular fee given the states details of your shipment.
  11. Lumper Services & Unloading Fees: Any conversation regarding lumper services and unloading fees at particular distribution centers and warehouses should be had directly with Ship Customer Support as it varies so much from place to place that putting an industry standard, an approximate figure would be impossible in a synopsis such as this.
  12. Equipment Not Used Fee: This is an accessorial fee that arises when a truck is requested to make a pick up at a specific location on a specific date, and when the truck arrives, they are turned away for any number of reasons (freight not being ready, shipper being closed earlier than stated on the BOL, the trailer was not equipped with the necessary equipment to make the pick up which was not stated on the BOL, or the pick up/shipment is canceled once the carrier has arrived to make the pick up or has arrived and has been turned away).

Related Reading: LTL Shipping – What is Minimum Density/Cubic Capacity?

After The Fact Accessorial

  1. Re-Delivery: Re-Delivery accessorial fees can be imposed by carriers when their first attempt at making a delivery is unsuccessful. This is most often due to being given wrong delivery days and hours on the BOL or because the equipment required to make the delivery was not specified. For instance, the receiver did not have a dock and required a lift gate in order to make delivery, however, no lift gate was specified on the BOL and the trailer attempting the delivery was not equipped with a lift gate. At that point, the delivery would have to be attempted at a later date with the proper equipment and the carrier will then charge a lift gate fee as well as a re-delivery fee due to the inconvenience of their having to use equipment not otherwise specified or due to incorrect delivery instructions on the BOL. Depending on the carrier, these fees can run anywhere from $35-$50 on up into the hundreds of dollars.
  2. Shipment Refused: A fee from the carrier when they attempted delivery of a shipment but the shipment is refused for a reason other than damage. This particular service can vary from carrier to carrier.
  3. Storage: Storage fees can occur when a shipment is originally scheduled to be delivered on a certain date but for one reason or another it is learned that the freight cannot be delivered on that date and the freight must be stored at the destination terminal for a day, several days or a week. The freight takes up precious space at the terminal and the carrier at that point will charge additional fees for the storage of the freight. These fees vary by carrier and by terminal but can often run between $50 and $200 per day. The best way to avoid a fee of this nature is to be absolutely sure of the delivery date, the transit times, and to book the shipment appropriately.
  4.  Reconsignment: This accessorial fee occurs when a shipment, while either in transit or when out for delivery, must have it’s delivery address changed. It is important to make sure when booking a shipment and filling out the BOL that you are absolutely sure of the delivery address and that the key factors are listed accurately and in their entirety (Name of the Business/Receiver, Address, Suite/Apt # and Zip Code). Reconsignment can also occur when a shipment is refused for delivery and must be sent back to its original pick up point. Reconsignment charges vary by carrier but usually run anywhere from around $100 on upwards to the entire original freight charges.
  5. Corrected BOL: Once a shipment is in transit but it is discovered that a serious correction needs to be made to the BOL, a new one can be made by Ship Customer Support and sent to the carrier but at a fee. This fee can run as little as $10 but can, depending on the carrier, be much higher. Much like reconsignment, the best way to avoid this fee is to have everything in order before the shipment is ever booked.
  6. Detention Charge: This type of charge occurs when a driver is unnecessarily detained in the course of making a pick up or delivery. While in the arena of FTL, detention charges generally do not begin to accrue until the driver has been delayed by more than two hours, on the LTL side a detention charge can begin to occur after only half an hour but can often run at the same rate as those in FTL which is generally between $50 and $100 per hour. The best way to avoid a charge of this nature is to be on top of the shipment and once the driver arrives to either make a pick up or delivery, get them loaded/unloaded as quickly as possible without delay.
  7. Excessive Length: This accessorial charge comes into play whenever a single, particular piece of a shipment exceeds 8 feet (96 inches) in length. Just about every LTL carrier in the industry -except a select few- charge an excessive length fee whenever a piece exceeds 8 feet in length, and some have an additional fee whenever a piece exceeds 12 feet (144 inches) in length. If a piece of your shipment exceeds 8 feet in length it would be wise to contact Ship Customer Support to see what the best course of action would be, as an excessive length charge can often be near or more than one hundred dollars.

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Written by The SupplyPike Team

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SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.

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