Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is a tricky and important part of your business to navigate accurately. When you are booking a LTL shipment, you are traditionally booking a dock-to-dock transfer of your product. However, most shipments aren’t that simple. Not everyone is packing pallets up in a warehouse with a dock, and not all receivers have a dock at their establishment. When your shipment doesn’t fit into the perfect LTL package, it is important to know what accessorial charges need to be acknowledged at the time of booking.
An accessorial charge is a fee added to a freight bill for additional services the carrier provides. They are a la carte type services and are outside of the normal LTL delivery process. Your business will benefit from understanding which accessorial charges you may need to financially prepare for the entire cost of shipping.
About Accessorial Fees
The structure of LTL shipping has many moving parts. Pallets are being sorted through multiple terminals. The products go through different trucks and experience driver changes frequently as they move across the country. Production is slowed down anytime the carrier must accommodate requests to make a delivery exception to pick-up or deliver a product. Each of those “slow-downs” will come with a price tag.
Common Accessorial Charges
The majority of LTL shipments will have an accessorial fee associated with the delivery. These accessorial requests need to be listed on the BOL prior to the shipment being picked up by the driver. The list of accessorial requests can be cumbersome. Below are a few of the most common.
If you need the carrier to contact your consignee prior to delivering the product, you will need to have them set an appointment. This is traditionally completed by the delivering terminal. If the carrier isn’t aware they need a delivery appointment and they are rejected by the consignee, you will get an additional fee for redelivery.
Lift Gate Charges
If your shipment is being picked up or delivered at ground level, the carrier will need to provide a lift gate. Lift gate equipment isn’t common or a standard requirement for trailers. So, it’s important you notify on your BOL when these services are needed. If delivery isn’t possible because of lack of information, you may have an additional fee for redelivery.
Products that don’t fit a traditional size can slow down the transportation process. Any pallet longer than eight feet in one direction will incur additional accessorial charges. These rules change frequently based on capacity, so ask an expert if you aren’t sure if your shipment is standard size.
If a shipper or consignee asks the driver to deliver the product beyond the tailgate of the truck, the carrier’s invoice will include additional fees for this assistance.
If a product is being picked up or delivered to a location where it is difficult to navigate, additional accessorial fees will be added. This could be both residential and business delivery. Limited access locations have complications in delivery. These include areas like schools, military bases, prisons, and construction sites. Many of these locations don’t have loading docks or require additional inspection prior to delivery.
Reweigh or Reclass
It is important that you know the dimensions of your shipment. Carriers have many regulations regarding their trailer capacity. They have to keep their weights accurate, products safe, and load their trailers safely. The dimensions of the pallet and the products on the pallets must be accurate on each shipment. This includes the weight of the pallet your product resides upon.
If the dimensions provided on the BOL do not match the actual product you may incur additional accessorial charges. Ask an expert for help with classifying your product and always provide accurate dimensions and weight when creating your BOL.
Many businesses have their doors open for a limited number of hours. Due to the daily time crunch, each LTL truck is working on a tight schedule. If the truck arrives at the pick-up or delivery location and is required to wait over 30 minutes to move the shipment, additional accessorial fees will be charged. It is important to keep the trucks running timely. We do this together by being prepared and promptly getting the product on and off the trailer.
Documentation is the Key
It is important to ask questions and ask for advice when it comes to your LTL shipment. Know where your product is going and what extras are needed along the way. LTL shipping is the last place you want to make assumptions based on the most generic shipping because, in LTL, there is no generic way of shipping.
Proactively booking your accessorial charges will save you money and a headache! If the carrier isn’t notified prior to pick-up that special services are needed, they may tack on a higher fee for any services provided. Take the time to know what will make your shipment move without any fees added on after delivery.
The England Logistics Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) division can provide nationwide service for shipments of almost any shape or size. To bring simplicity to shipping processes, LTL offers a one-stop solution with the information needed to get shipments on the road. Dedicated team members are available 24/7 to ensure timely and cost-efficient delivery.