Strive Blog

What Are Shipping Accessorials? Why Do I Need Them?


Freights can come with some unforeseen costs, usually in the form of a shipping accessorial. An accessorial fee is an extra charge, generally applied post-shipment, for handling certain types of shipping situations. Accessorials can include:

  • • Extra charges for packing and unpacking
  • • Long haul fees
  • • Trailer detention
  • • Fuel increases
  • • Residential delivery fees

  • • Weight adjustments
  • • Additional handling
  • • Redelivery

Some shipping accessorial charges are called value-added services. These services can be added to a freight shipment to meet special shipping needs pre-shipment. The most common shipping accessorials are for LTL (less than truckload) freight shipments.

When your freight requirements go above and beyond what is standard for pickup and delivery, accessorials are added to the shipment to reflect the extra effort and time required. There are three general types of LTL shipping accessorials.

The first type of accessorial is administrative. These occur when there are bill of lading (BOL) errors or omissions and when shipments must be verified, reweighed, or inspected.

A bill of lading is a document with all the terms of the contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It helps with a few different things, including:

  • • Acting as a contract between the shipper and carrier for the transportation of freight, specifying the obligations of both parties
  • • Defining or providing a description of the goods shipped
  • • Serving as a receipt for the shipment

The good news is that you can often avoid these administrative accessorials. Making sure that the gross shipment weight, class, and National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) are correct is key. Your shipment generally needs to weigh within 15 pounds from what the BOL states to what the scale shows, so there’s not a lot of room for error. When weight, class, and NMFC are left off the BOL, your carrier may apply the highest—and most expensive—class available for that commodity.

The second accessorial type comes from delivery. These occur when:

  • • Redelivery must be attempted if the person receiving your shipment turns the freight away for any reason without unloading the shipment
  • • The delivery address is incorrect on the BOL
  • • The shipment requires delivery to a residential or congested metro area

Redelivery fees can be avoided by knowing whether or not the company receiving the shipment requires a delivery appointment, even if the BOL doesn’t indicate that an appointment is required. LTL carriers can’t afford to wait since they have more shipments to deliver, so being prepared ahead of time can help. Metro area fees accrue due to excessive traffic, tolls, narrow streets, or tight receiving docks.

Pallet Jack AccessorialThe last common shipping accessorial is charged due to equipment. This accessorial type encompasses any additional equipment needed for delivery or pick-up. That includes liftgates, forklifts, pallet jacks and other equipment.

This equipment is limited and must be scheduled carefully. Failing to communicate delivery requirements to the carrier may result in the product being returned to the terminal. You’ll be charged both equipment accessorials, and redelivery accessorials. You can easily avoid this by telling your carrier about any special handling equipment that they’ll need on the day of delivery.

Ultimately, the best thing that you can do to avoid unnecessary accessorials is to partner with a 3PL that specializes in LTL shipments. An experienced partner will make sure you have exactly the accessorials you need for your shipment and no more. Have more questions about LTL shipping? Check out our LTL shipping glossary.

Get an LTL shipping quote!