More Glossary Terms

Accessorial Charges

What are accessorial charges?

Accessorial charges in transportation are fees levied by freight transportation carriers for services that go beyond standard pick-up and delivery. Accessorial charges or accessorial fees are usually applied when there is a need for additional labor, equipment, time, or fuel.

Accessorial fees are included in the schedule of fees or rules tariffs published by freight transportation service providers. Accessorial charges in transportation are most common in less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments, but they also apply for small parcel, full truckload (FTL), and intermodal shipments.

Who pays for accessorial charges?

The consignee charged for shipping cargo is billed any carrier accessorial charges by the transportation service provider.
Many freight accessorial charges are added to a freight bill when a shipment is booked with a carrier. The final freight bill includes additional carrier accessorial charges if any unexpected services are required during shipping or delivery.

Reasons for Accessorial Charges in Transportation

Carrier accessorial charges occur for many different reasons. Generally, these fees fall into three different categories: administrative, in-transit, and equipment.
  • Administrative: Errors with a bill of lading or other documentation discovered after a shipment’s pick-up.
  • Equipment: Shipments that require additional equipment for loading, delivery, or transport. Additional accessorial fees may be charged if those requirements aren’t stated in advance of pick-up.
  • In-transit: Charges incurred after shipment pick-up, during transport, or at the time of delivery, such as layover, out-of-route miles, limited access, or redelivery.
Some accessorials charges in transportation are anticipated as part of the transportation needs of a shipment. These carrier accessorial charges are applied at the time of shipment booking. Fees incurred later often result from errors during planning or poor visibility of transportation movements.

Shippers avoid many post-booking accessorials using automation supported in a transportation management system.

Types of Accessorial Charges

All Freight Transportation Modes

Advance Notification: The carrier must notify the consignee before completing the delivery.

Additional Stops: Shipment has multiple destinations, requiring several stops for pick-up or unload.

After-hour pick up/delivery: Carrier required to execute shipment activities before or after regular business hours.

Bill of Lading Correction Fee: The correct bill of lading is not provided at the origin location.

Fuel Surcharge: Surcharge is based on current fuel prices that allow carriers to avoid fuel price forecasting and minimize the effect of rising fuel rates.

Hazardous Materials: Shipment contains materials that must be controlled, stored, or transported in a way that prevents a potential hazard to human health, safety, or infrastructure.

Inside Delivery: The driver must go beyond the front door or loading dock to pick up or deliver a shipment. This might require additional equipment or “white glove” delivery and set-up.

Liftgate: Freight shipments to or from a location with no loading dock requiring a truck with a hydraulic liftgate.

Limited Access: The truck driver completes unexpected work to complete the delivery, such as finding the consignee or completing security inspections.

Metro Pickup/Delivery: Charged in metropolitan locations where streets are congested, and there is limited parking.

Residential: Delivery to a residential address, which often requires navigating neighborhood streets and unloading freight.

Storage: The carrier stores a shipment, usually billing by the hour by the day.

Truckload Transportation

Detention: Trailers or containers are kept by a consignor or consignee for loading, unloading, or other purposes.

Driver Load/Unload: The driver assists in loading or unloading the shipment from their trailer.

Layover: Carrier’s delivery or pick-up isn’t completed on the scheduled day.

Lumper: Third-party laborers load or unload cargo, usually at large distribution warehouses.

Overweight: The combination of the power unit, trailer, and cargo exceeds local, state, and federal government regulations.

Out of Route Miles: The carrier provides additional service that takes it more than 10 miles outside of the contracted rate.

Redelivery: The carrier must redeliver an order for any number of reasons.

Stop-off Charge: Freight needs to be delivered to two or more locations.

Truck Ordered Not Used (TONU): The truck is canceled after a pre-established cut-off time.


Chassis charge: Fee levied by a carrier for the consignee’s use of a container chassis. A chassis split fee happens when no chassis is available at a port or ramp. This incurs a charge for moving a chassis to the container location.

Demurrage: Charged when cargo is longer than the allocated time in a terminal.

Per Diem: A daily charge is applied to use a carrier’s equipment until that equipment is returned.

Scale: Charged with requests to weigh a load.


Oversized/Overlength: When a freight shipment exceeds standard pallet sizes.

Reclassification and reweigh: Dimension, weight, or classification is incorrect or missing.

Sort/Seg: The driver is required to break up an order and move cargo from one pallet to another.

How to Avoid Paying Extra for Accessorial Fees

Accessorials resulting from errors in the booking process – such as incorrect classifications or bill of lading errors – are frequently avoided using process automation. This limits human errors and confirms process compliance during shipment execution.
End-to-end shipment visibility further helps identify problem points ahead, avoid unexpected equipment accessorials, and coordinate shipment, delivery, and unload timing.
Confirm all shipment information with your transportation provider, especially the final destination, correct shipment dimensions, precise weight, and materials at the time of booking.

See how Smart Transportation solutions help you manage Accessorials.

How MercuryGate Helps Manage Accessorial Charges

MercuryGate’s transportation management system supports accessorial management by providing automation, visibility, and freight settlement tools.
  • Automate shipment execution to limit human error, improve accuracy and manage by exception.
  • Access comprehensive freight rating repository and API-based rate data, including existing accessorials for each shipment.
  • Use closed-loop freight settlement to validate carrier accessorial charges and identify recurring fees that can be eliminated to control costs from shipment origin through final payment.
  • Leverage real-time data to improve planning and communication across transportation activities from initial pick-up to final delivery.

Ready to learn more about how MercuryGate controls freight accessorial charges using automation in a transportation management system?

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