No matter the size of your business, or how much you ship, one thing that many shippers have in common is finding unexpected charges on their freight invoice. These are referred to as accessorial fees and are commonly seen on any less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment. There are several ways that a shipper can reduce or avoid accessorial charges. Here is a guide to what some of the most common charges are and ways that you can avoid finding them on your invoice.
An accessorial fee is an additional charge for a service that is provided by the carrier that was not indicated in the original freight estimate. Specifically, they are fees charged, if there is something about your freight that makes it more difficult than normal to transport. The amount of these fees can vary.
If a carrier suspects that your freight was measured or weighed incorrectly, they will often re-measure or re-weigh the shipment themselves. If they find a discrepancy, they will bill you for it. The best way to avoid this charge is to follow best practices for measuring and weighing your freight. Be sure to account for protrusions, and always measure the extreme of your freight’s length, width, and height.
Fuel surcharges are imposed by carriers when the cost of diesel is excessive, these fees are typically charged as a percentage of the cost of fuel. If you are a consistent customer, some carriers may be willing to waive this fee.
If your pickup or delivery location does not have a loading dock, then you will probably be charged extra as your carrier will be forced to send a special truck, equipped with a liftgate. The only way to avoid this fee is to make sure that you are shipping freight to and from facilities with dock height doors. If the facility does not have a dock, make sure they have the necessary resources on hand to unload the freight.
If you are shipping freight that exceeds 12 feet in length, this charge will most likely appear on your invoice. Shipments that are oversized take up more space on a trailer. To avoid these charges, break up your freight into multiple smaller shipments.
A redelivery charge occurs when the driver is unable to deliver. This is due to a time not being set and/or the receiver is not available. If in this case, the driver will need to come back at a time when the receiver is available for the delivery. Drivers cannot be stationary for long periods of time, and the other items on the truck need to be delivered. A second delivery will be scheduled, thus incurring a new fee.
Storage fees occur when a carrier has to hold your freight until a specific date. The easiest way to avoid these charges is to plan your shipping and receiving times. Do it in a way that minimizes any long gaps in delivery. When you work with PPLUS Global, they will help decide what shipment and delivery and pickup dates make the most sense for your situation to avoid this fee.
If you have deliveries or pickups from construction sites, convention centers, schools, airports, and other limited access areas, then you may have seen this fee before. You may be able to negotiate these fees.
It takes extra time and effort for carriers to deliver goods to residential areas, which carriers will charge for. If you know that you are going to need residential services regularly, you may try negotiating fees with the carriers ahead of time. You may also want to consider a final mile service, which can lower your costs.
When you are using LTL shipping, it is important to discuss and give all the information upfront when getting your quote. Giving a precise account of weight, the final destination, and the correct dimensions of the shipment will help avoid any surprises at the end. Also, define what type of commodity is in transit, any special arrangements for pickup or delivery, and the correct documentation.
Coordinating your shipments is another big piece to avoiding accessorial charges. Understanding the time frame of pickup and delivery will prevent you from paying storage fees or re-delivery fees.
There are some accessorial fees that you will not be able to prevent. However, accurate information will protect you from a surprise fee. If you are not sure about less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping and the rules, PPLUS Global can help. They have been helping businesses find the best solutions to their freight needs.