Common Freight Charges: Accessorial Fees
Think about the last time you sent a freight shipment. You no doubt factored in the basics — class, capacity, weight, density and the like. You probably took appropriate measures to ensure your freight had the proper packaging. You might've even pulled special permits and budgeted for unavoidable fuel surcharges.
But did you account for freight accessorials?
Accessorials are additional fees for services not included in standard freight shipping rates. In a sense, they're like the mysterious charges in the fine print of your cell phone bill. You don't know how they got there. You might not initially be clear what they mean. But you have to pay for them.
Unlike those cell charges, however, accessorial charges can be relatively easy to understand, and if you select these special services ahead of time, you can make sure your freight gets the special treatment it deserves. Once you're armed with some fundamental knowledge about which accessorial fees apply, you can get the most accurate quotes and prevent unwanted freight shipping expenses.
Common freight accessorials — and tips on how to deal with them
This is what happens if a carrier attempts to make a delivery but gets turned away by the receiver. It can also be applied if no one's around to accept the delivery — or if the delivery address gets changed to a new location while your shipment is in transit.
- How to avoid it: Before creating the bill of lading, confirm the precise delivery details with your shipment receiver (generally, this is also known as a "consignee").
If your shipper or receiver doesn't have a dock, they'll need a liftgate to load or unload your shipment. And because many (if not most) pickup and delivery vehicles don't have liftgates, you can expect an extra fee.
- How to avoid it: Make sure to communicate with the person sending your shipment — or the person to whom you're shipping — to get accurate information about their dock situation and requirements. And when necessary, schedule a liftgate pickup or delivery ahead of time to prevent delivery delays and additional charges.
Inside pickup or delivery fee
Whether your freight is going inside a business or inside a residence, if it needs to cross a threshold rather than going inside a dock or similar receiving area, you'll need to pay for that additional service.
- How to avoid it: Clearly indicate on your BOL whether your freight needs an inside pickup or delivery. Another tip: specify where in the building or on what side of the building your shipment should be received. Again, providing that sort of detail up front will help eliminate surprise freight shipping charges down the line.
Appointment, notify or check call charge
What happens if your carrier needs to contact the recipient to set up an appointment? You'll need to pay for this extra-touch service.
- How to avoid it: Confirm that your consignee needs a delivery appointment and note it on your bill of lading. It also doesn't hurt to double-check that the contact information is correct.
Vehicle not used fee
If your shipment is not ready when the driver arrives for a scheduled pickup, you'll be charged a fee.
- How to avoid it: Cancel or reschedule pickups before the driver gets dispatched.
Notice a common theme with these freight accessorial charges?
In each case, you'll incur an accessorial charge when your freight needs service that goes beyond standard delivery or something unanticipated, like dwell time, happens during the freight shipping process. In short, carriers aren't that different from you — they don't like surprises, either, And by being prepared with the full details of your shipment, you can avoid surprises, too.
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