One of the many challenges that shippers and freight managers face in their supply chain are accessorial charges. Also referred to as "value-added services," these charges are the additional costs that are applied to a shipment that requires extra services from the carrier beyond standard pickup and delivery.
These fees may be applied to a variety of services, including but not limited to:
Handling of hazmat freight
Residential or construction site delivery
Sort and seg services
Why Accessorial Charges Are Applied
Most carriers will work closely with you to make sure that everything is planned ahead for a seamless delivery appointment. At Averitt, for example, we will ask you questions such as whether or not you have a dock or need inside delivery. The charges will still apply, but they will be done so in a manner that is transparent and will also show up on the initial invoice to the paying party.
So why do accessorial charges exist to begin with?
1) Drivers Have To Keep Moving
Carriers are not afraid to perform extra services when they are given a heads up from the shipper. A driver, however, has to keep his or her truck moving as much as possible. A less-than-truckload (LTL) driver, for example, may be carrying freight for as many as 10-15 shippers at one time. Freight is loaded and routes are strategically drawn up to ensure that the driver can make all of the deliveries on time.
Unfortunately, the unexpected needs of one customer can cause delays for everyone else when additional time is needed to perform the delivery.
Above all else, the most important reason that accessorial services and their charges exist is to ensure the safety of the driver and yourself. Any delivery to a location without a dock, for example, will require a trailer equipped with a liftgate to unload the freight.
As you can imagine, making the decision to unload a 200-pound shipment by hand rather than incurring the accessorial fee could lead to serious safety issues. All too commonly, bypassing such safety procedures can result in a fall from the trailer or damaging the freight, which could put the handler's well-being and life at risk.
Safety is a shared responsibility of both carriers and shippers!
Help your carrier Avoid The Unexpected
Accessorial charges are a fundamental part of the shipping and transportation industry. Carriers have to operate with time and safety in mind, which can be affected when they are asked to perform additional services.
However, you can help your carrier perform better by simply communicating and making them aware of your specific needs ahead of time. We're not afraid to go the extra mile to help you succeed at operating your business timely and efficiently.
Remember, your carrier partner is just that—your partner.
Amos Rogan is the LTL Operations Leader for Averitt Express and specializes in assisting customers with productivity and efficiency. With nearly two decades of transportation industry experience, he started his career out as a dock associate before eventually moving into leadership.