Accessorials: Unexpected Freight Charges & How to Prevent Them

For customers using a supply chain management service to move goods for business, it’s essential to understand all the services and the associated costs. One such example is accessorials. These are supplemental services provided by logistics experts that carry an additional price tag on the freight bill. Accessorial charges are anything that goes beyond the basics of dock-to-dock transportation. Accessorial charges come in many forms and impact all modes of freight transportation services.

Accessorials will often include the need for special equipment and services like liftgates, non-commercial destinations, and inside pickup and/or delivery. These are often unforeseen freight costs because of extra charges for transportation services, including packing, unpacking, long-haul fees, and extra pickups. Freight carriers themselves may charge for trailer detention, re-delivery, fuel increases, and other expenses or extra services. These fees are typically added to your freight bill after the shipment has been completed, making it difficult to predict the full cost of a shipment.

Typically, accessorial charges are applied post-shipment. Something like a surcharge or special service code can be specified and pre-planned. However, accessorials are tricky since they are not posted at the point of manifest or in regular invoices — customers need to be aware that there could be additional costs that haven’t been factored in, and you should be aware that it could affect your budget.

The accessorial charge is added to a shipper’s freight invoice for services the motor freight carrier performed above and beyond the standard pickup and delivery. There are a wide variety of potential charges like the line haul charge and fuel surcharge. There may be a one-time fee for a particular haul that has specialty transport needs, or these fees could mount daily, skyrocketing your total cost.

There are times you will see accessorial charges when the shipment is tendered, such as residential, liftgate, and inside delivery. But most accessorials are not known until the shipment is complete and invoiced.

Services That May Add Accessorials

Accessorials typically fall within three categories: administrative, delivery, or equipment.

Administrative. These are the most avoidable and can be detected at the carrier terminal by double-checking the accuracy of the bill of lading.

In Transit. Delivery charges are common and occur when a delivery window is missed. Re-delivery of a shipment or seeking an alternate route will equal added fees.  

Equipment. At times, shipments may require extra equipment. If the bill of lading does not properly detail the additional service, that additional fee will be the responsibility of the client.

Terms and Definitions to Look For

Accessorial fees can be a flat fee or charged by the time the specialized service takes to complete. Added fees can slow the entire shipping process, so it’s important to know the common types of freight accessorials. 

Detention. When a shipment is held up at either the initial or final destination, fees could accumulate. There is some built-in flexibility in the shipping process, but any amount of time that exceeds what is planned for will lead to a detention fee.

Truck ordered and not used (TONU). This is usually a contract clause. If a truck is ordered and not used after the cut-off time established in that clause there will be an added charge.

Additional stop. Multi-stop shipments are common, but can sometimes become unpredictable. The additional fee applied here is for delays between stops.

Layovers or re-delivery. If a shipment was never picked up or does not make it to its final destination during its slated window, it will cause a layover or have to be re-delivered. Layovers and re-deliveries can cause backups and are considered one of the largest accessorial fees.

Nexterus Can Help

Remember, your bill of lading is perhaps your most important document in shipping. It’s a legally binding document providing copious details for invoicing.

As a customer, using a supply chain management system like Nexterus eliminates the hassles of unknown or accessorial fees. We offer a full line of services to manage your needs. We call it our toolbelt, which Nexterus utilizes to effectively manage all facets of freight transportation.

Nexterus provides the best combination of people and technology. We actually help manage your freight through a 24/7/365 customer care team. Each client is assigned a dedicated strategic account manager as their point of contact to resolve any problems.

Nexterus performs all administrative services, including a three-level audit on each freight bill, and pays all transportation invoices timely on behalf of clients. Our teams also handle any loss/damage claims, providing single-source reporting and management of the entire supply chain.

If you want to learn more about our customized solutions for your business, fill out and submit this contact form, we’ll help solve any challenges you are having.

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