How to avoid unexpected freight accessorials in shipping.

October 7, 2019

While freight accessorials are commonplace in the LTL shipping industry, they can be a logistical nightmare for shippers if left unaccounted for. Unexpected accessorials can lead to extra charges and can even harm your status as a shipper of choice.

While some freight accessorials cannot be avoided, many of the most common unexpected accessorials stem from a lack of proper preparation of shipments. With this in mind, there are steps you can take to ensure that your future shipments have little to no unanticipated accessorial charges. 

Let’s take a look at why you may be experiencing unexpected freight accessorial charges and how you can avoid them.


What are freight accessorials?

At Freightquote by C.H. Robinson, we define freight accessorials as any service that is performed by a carrier outside of traditional dock-to-dock transport. Once identified, the cost of these services will be added onto the shipper’s invoice to compensate for the extra work provided by the carrier. While all shipments are subject to accessorial charges, they are most common with less than truckload (LTL) shipments. 

Freight accessorials can apply to several aspects of a shipment, which is often why one may fly under the radar. Some accessorials are unavoidable and are usually identified upfront on the shipper’s bill of lading (BOL) before the shipment goes out. However, there are also a lot of unexpected accessorials, and it’s important to be mindful of these for your future shipments.

Common freight accessorials include:

  • Re-weigh & re-measure
  • Oversized freight
  • Liftgate
  • Extra packaging
  • Residential delivery
  • Inside delivery
  • Truck ordered not used (TONU)
  • Appointment
  • Call before appointment


How you can begin to avoid them.

In many cases, unexpected accessorials can be avoided through simple adjustments to your everyday business practices. Let's look at some ways shippers can start to eliminate unexpected accessorials.


Avoiding weight, dimension and oversize adjustments.

The measurements of a shipment are often done by an automated dimensionalizer, which calculates a freight’s weight and dimensions in a matter of seconds. It’s recommended that you invest in a dimensionalizer of your own, but if that is not an option, following best practices for hand measurements is the next best option. With regards to an oversize adjustment, making sure your order is under 12 feet long should ensure that you bypass an improper dimension accessorial charge.


Bill of lading accuracy.

Bill of lading accuracy is perhaps the most important aspect of freight shipping to consider when trying to avoid unexpected accessorial charges. This is because the BOL provides the carrier with all of the details needed to properly process and invoice a freight shipment. For example, a freight’s delivery address, dimensions and class are all labeled on the BOL. Furthermore, special instructions such as the need for a liftgate are also posted on the BOL, so it must be filled out correctly.


Education is key.

Surprisingly, many unexpected accessorial charges stem from employees who improperly measure freight, or do not correctly fill out a BOL. Therefore, educating employees on accessorials is a worthwhile practice if you want to avoid unexpected charges. Even seasoned employees can benefit from a refresher now and again, so all guidelines stay fresh in their mind.


Work with a freight service provider.

While adopting the practices we discussed into your day-to-day is a great place to start when trying to avoid unexpected accessorials, it will not always protect you from charges. For this reason, it’s beneficial to work with a freight service provider whenever possible. 

Self service tools, such as those we have here at Freightquote, handle every aspect of your shipment, making sure it fully complies with freight regulations, ensuring an accessorial free delivery of your cargo whenever possible.


Things to keep in mind for the future.

Accessorial charges will always be a part of freight shipping, so shippers must stay alert now and into the future. While the nature of LTL shipments will likely stay the same, shippers must not become complacent, as that will lead to unnecessary freight charges.

At Freightquote we provide all of the tools you need to be one step ahead of accessorial charges. If needed, our team can assist you, ensuring you avoid accessorials wherever possible. 

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