Transportation Accessorial Charges

transportation accessorial charges

Though this might be surprising to some, carriers are often called upon to perform services other than just driving.  Drivers may have to load or unload trailers, wrap pallets, or make additional stops. Unexpected changes to a freight bill due to inadvertent transportation accessorial charges can be frustrating. Understanding common freight accessorial charges and how to plan your shipments and budgets around them, will help you save on your LTL freight.

What are Transportation Accessorial Charges?

An accessorial charge is an addition to shipping invoices for extra services. When an extra service is provided but not included within the initial estimate for services, this is an accessorial charge.

In most cases, an accessorial charge is something that you will see a lot with LTL or parcel carriers (especially overnight or express deliveries). Some of the most common charges that show up unexpectedly on an invoice include the following:


If a carrier must store a shipper’s delivery, then the carrier may charge a storage fee, either by the hour or by the day. Additional expenses may apply because your goods are taking up space in their warehouse and equipment, which disables them from moving other shipments.

Change in weight or description fee

If the correct weight or description is not specified on the bill of lading, the carrier may assess an additional fee for their correction.

Diversion Miles

If upon arrival at a shipper or the end receiver, the carrier is told to drive to a different location, then divergent miles may be charged. There will typically be a ceiling mileage of which the carrier is willing to drive at no additional charge.

After-Hour Deliveries

A carrier may charge a shipper for after hour deliveries if the carrier typically only delivers during business hours. This would not be a common accessorial fee for truckload carriers.

Inside delivery

Inside delivery or pickup is a fee for having a carrier deliver or pick up a shipment that goes beyond the tailgate of the trailer utilized. This service may be requested by either the shipper or the consignee and will be provided at an additional charge.

Special Handling

Some products require special handling services. These include things such as international shipping documentation, hazardous material certifications and documentation, or medical equipment. If the shipment requires any additional handling or specialized equipment or certifications, it is common to receive an accessorial charge.

Over dimensional goods

It’s crucial for a carrier to know upfront if the freight they’re transporting exceeds the size or weight limit of a standard shipment. Without reporting over dimensional measurements, the carrier will have to adjust appropriately on site and you’ll likely face an additional fee.

Liftgate Fees

If you’re shipping a load that weighs more than 100 pounds and you don’t have the necessary equipment or tools to safely load or unload the truck, you may be required to use a lift gate. Charges associated with liftgates can be anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the carrier.  A liftgate fee may also apply to a load of less than 100 pounds, and with pick up or delivery at a residential location. Liftgates are typically common at job sites, residential areas or business locations without a dock.

Avoiding Transportation Accessorial Charges

Contrary to popular belief, it is not advantageous for a carrier to add additional charges to their customer’s invoices. All modes of transportation are highly competitive these days, which stimulates carriers to take care of customers by eliminating many common accessorial charges.

However, businesses are in business to protect their own interests. So, accessorial charges are not a thing of the past, nor will they ever be. If you find that you are always being hit with extra fees, there are ways to reduce them.

Educate employees on proper BOL creation & shipment preparation

Many administrative accessorial charges can be avoided. Bill of Lading accuracy is critical to reducing unnecessary fees. Educating employees on accessorial and the importance of properly weighing, measuring and classing shipments, along with accurately completing BOL documentation can help you save.

Know your National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) freight classification

Misclassified freight can lead to additional fees. 

Work with a 3PL

Third-party logistics companies maintain incredible relationships with carriers in all modes of delivery. They can negotiate incredible shipping rates, which often includes reduced accessorial or special handling charges.

Furthermore, a third-party logistics company also provides clients accurate details right up to the point of delivery. This reduces mistakes, delivery re-attempts, or other frustrating situations for the carrier, shipper and customer alike!

Cannonball Express Transportation

Cannonball Express Shipping Company has been providing top-of-the-line service at a reasonable rate. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, we provide nationwide refrigerated LTL services, as well as, local delivery services. Contact us today!

Nationwide Shipping Company Services:

  • Refrigerated LTL deliveries in the lower 48 states
  • Refrigerated Cross dock

Local Shipping Company Services:

  • Redelivery Services
  • Truckload & LTL Capabilities
  • PUP
  • Cross dock
  • Transload
  • Warehouse and Distribution capabilities from multiple Omaha Locations