Definition of Freight Accessorial Charges

Commercial drivers are often unaware of the different freight accessorial charges that can be assessed on their shipments. This blog post defines each type of charge and provides examples of when they may be applicable. By understanding these charges, drivers can better prepare for them and avoid any unnecessary surprises.


What Are Freight Accessorial Charges?

Freight accessorial charges are fees that trucking companies can charge in addition to the base rate for shipping goods. These charges are used to cover additional services or expenses associated with the shipment, which can vary depending on the company and the type of shipment. Some common accessorial charges include fuel surcharges, detention charges, and drivers’ pay for waiting time. Freight companies or brokerages will typically list their accessorial charges in their rate confirmation, contract, or tariff, which are documents that outline the terms and conditions of the services. When negotiating with a broker, shipper, or trucking company, it’s important to ask about their accessorial charges to get an accurate estimate of the total cost of the contracted shipment.


The Most Common Accessorial Fees:

Freight accessorial fees are in addition to the standard base rates. These extra fees typically cover services outside the scope of a basic shipping agreement, such as loading and unloading assistance (lumpers), detention, fuel surcharges, storage, and re-routing. While there is no definitive list of freight accessorial charges, some of the most common fees include:


Loading and Unloading:

Many shippers require assistance with loading and unloading their freight such as moving pallets with a pallet jack. This can also occur if there is no useable loading dock and the truck is not equipped with a ramp or liftgate. Loading and unloading a truckload takes time even with LTL shipments or less than truckload shipments. This can add significant layover time and expense to a trucking company’s operation, and as a result, many will charge a fee for this service.

Sometimes, a shipper will utilize third-party workers to help load or unload the contents of a trailer. When this occurs, a lumper fee is typically charged to the carrier. In these cases, these fees often get reimbursed to the driver by the shipper or broker.



If a shipment is delayed for any reason, the trucking company may need to store the freight until it can be delivered. This can often result in additional fees such as a storage fee being charged to the shipper. You should expect this fee to be higher if dealing with (hazmat) hazardous materials within the load being stored.



If a shipment needs to be re-routed for any reason such as limited access, the trucking company will often charge a fee for this service of making additional stops. Sometimes this happens while making a residential delivery. Navigating a truck and trailer through a residential area is not always as easy as we would hope and re-routing may be required. This fee is typically passed on to the shipper to offset the additional price of fuel, time, etc.

If they cannot make the delivery and have to store the items for a re-delivery, there could be an additional fee for both the storage and the additional delivery attempt.


While freight accessorial charges can add significant costs to a shipping agreement, they are typically necessary to provide adequate service levels. It is always best to provide advanced notification of any and all potential issues upfront such as hour deliveries being accepted or cut-off times at the drop-off location. By doing this such matters can be anticipated and properly planned for. Doing this could save you significant time and money in freight costs on your freight bills.


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