This blog will cover how to prepare for accessorial charges on Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments. When it comes to rates, LTL carriers first have their base freight charges. Then they have a fuel surcharge, which became normal and customary starting in the early 1990s. In today’s world, accessorial charges have become standard, and carriers have developed ways to enforce these charges whenever a shipment’s requirements are appropriately identified and serviced. While accessorial charges have become standard, carriers can charge differently for the same accessorials depending on the lane, season, and other circumstances. Partnering with a 3PL, like Echo Global Logistics, can help you evaluate the accessorial charges to optimize the total cost of the shipment on the shipper’s behalf. Some of the most common accessorial charges on LTL shipments are reclassification/reweigh, residential delivery, oversize, inside delivery, liftgate, school/military delivery location, tradeshows, hazardous materials, white-glove, single shipment, and limited access.
Carriers are serious about accessorial charges, but what can shippers do about it? Here are some helpful tips to prepare for accessorial charges on LTL shipments:
- Anticipate whether any additional services will be required for your shipment: Is the delivery going to a destination without a dock? That means a liftgate will be necessary. Is the freight taking up numerous pallets spots or configured in a non-traditional manner? That’s an additional fee. Does the shipment’s origin or destination have a geographic limitation that makes it a residential delivery or limited-access point? LTL carriers will most likely charge extra for that. Echo’s LTL experts can help you anticipate any additional services prior to shipping and delivery.
- Reweigh and proper classification: The proper weight of the shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. It is important to also include the weight of each pallet in the final total weight. It’s critical that shippers regularly weigh their SKUs for proper item master management. It is important to have a scale if a mixture of pallets is used. Classification is critical to a shipment and in many instances may hit the cubic parameters overriding weight only specifications. Echoworks with a shipper to give guidance and best practices for proper classification on weight and dimensions.
- Inform the carrier, or your Echo rep, of special requirements before shipping: Describe the shipment’s requirement and determine the accessorial fees—if there are any—prior to shipping. If nothing else, this will give you visibility into the extra charges you’ll be seeing. When you have an accurate assessment of requirements, be sure to list them explicitly on the bill of lading.
- Recognize the requirements you’re being charged for: Know what each accessorial charge means and why you’re being charged for it. Is the particular service truly required for delivery or pickup? Your Echo rep will be able to help align your requirements with the optimal carrier for each shipment.
- Another helpful hint for inside delivery: You can avoid one particular accessorial charge by warning the carrier that inside delivery will not be paid regardless of the consignee’s request. Be aware that this needs to be done in an explicit manner because simply stating non-authorization on the bill of lading usually will not suffice. Call your Echo rep to help work with the carrier beforehand.
As always, it’s a good idea to study your consistent and repetitive shipments, especially ones that incur accessorial charges on LTL shipments. If a particular consignee has a requirement or a specific destination has a geographic limitation, you may be able to minimize the associated accessorial charge on LTL shipments with a carrier. If a consignee requires a liftgate consistently, perhaps a particular carrier will reduce their liftgate charge in exchange for being the primary carrier on that lane.
Regardless, it’s critical that shippers understand that accessorial charges on LTL shipments are real and here to stay. Ignoring them is no longer an option, so the key is having the know-how and making the effort to avoid or minimize them when you can. At Echo, we work with you to ensure you are getting the correct rates and services that your shipments require.