11 Most Common Accessorials in Freight Shipping and How to Anticipate Them

11 Most Common Accessorials in Freight Shipping and How to Anticipate Them

If you ever deal with truck freight shipping, then you may come across many different terms. One of them is accessorials. What is the accessorials definition transportation professionals know and use? That's what will be covered in this content, but they're usually surcharges involving industry-specific terms that you may or might not know. Learning about the most common accessorial fees and charges helps you understand your invoicing but also potentially how to avoid them. Keep reading to learn what they are, what they mean, and how much they are.

What Are the Accessorial Charges and Why Are They Charged?

Accessorials in logistics are charges for various things, such as detentions, liftgates, and unpacking needed to finish delivery. These are things not covered by base rate fees, so they're added to billable freight invoices later.

Many accessorial charges are things that should be anticipated in advance and incorporated into initial billing. Specific examples include the three following examples.

  1. Extra Time and Distance: In many cases, shipments might require extra time to get to their destination. Extra stops might even be necessary. The delays can rack up accessorial fees.
  2. Special Equipment or Handling: Certain deliveries need special equipment or handling that might involve lift gates for facilities that don't have loading docks or extra details for loading and unloading.
  3. Special Escorts or Permits: Loads excessing legal weights or dimensions might need special permits or even escorts.

Regrettably, not all resources or services are known prior to shipments being loaded. If this happens, the carrier adds relevant accessorial charges to your invoice once the load is finished and they go through their freight audit process.

By being mindful of shipment details and doing advance planning, both shippers and receivers can reduce how often accessorial charges catch them by surprise.

11 Most Common Freight Accessorials

accessorials definition

There can be many different accessorials freight carriers charge, but these 10, in particular, are the most common ones you can plan for.

#1. Detention

Detention is like layovers but they happen for shorter stretches of time. Drivers have to wait longer than allocated during unloading or loading.

#2. Hazmat

This happens when hazardous materials have to be moved. The Department of Transportation has special requirements for such scenarios, and that increases the costs the carrier has to deal with. Also, not all drivers have the proper credentials.

#3. Reconsignment

This is a fee that happens when a delivery destination gets changed at any point in time after the load is already picked up. If it's en route, then the driver has to change their path. Extra navigation might not be easy, and time gets crunched.

#4. Excess Cargo Insurance

The industry standard is $100,000 of cargo coverage. It's often built into the upfront cost. However, highly valuable commodities might need more. The rates can vary based on the kind of commodity and how many miles need to be covered.

#5. Stop-Off Charges

These happen when carriers have to make extra stops for picking up or delivering goods in order to finish the load contract.

#6. Tanker Endorsements

accessorials freight

This is a charge that might happen if liquids are hauled in large volumes inside dry van trailers. The FMCSA mandates drivers carrying 1,000 gallons of liquids or more to have a CDL tanker endorsement.

#7. Lumper Fees

The food industry has higher odds of seeing lumper fees. These are third-party-specific unloading services paid outside the simple load transport. Lumper services have variable costs based on a specific service provider involved.

#8. Special Equipment

Several kinds of equipment fall into this category, including edge protectors for open decks and extra straps for van trailers. They're both common to be available, but the amounts are often limited in quantity.

#9. Layover Fees

Layover fees are often flat charges instead of hourly, like detention fees. When a shipper isn't ready for a driver at the scheduled time, the driver might not need to wait at the actual site and can come back later.

#10. Driver Assist Fees

Otherwise known as tailgating, this is a charge that can happen if the driver must assist with unloading cargo. Drivers are rarely asked to do any loading, but this fee would apply to that as well.

#11. TONU (Truck Order Not Used)

If a truck is ordered but then canceled, this fee might happen. Buyers might find better prices somewhere else, or shippers might not have sufficient stock to come up with a load.

How to Get Prepared for Accessorial Charges?

freight broker accessorial fees

How do you get ready for freight broker accessorial fees? There are actually plenty of things you can do!

  1. Detailed BOL Information: Incorporate any special legal requirements of handling instructions that are pertinent to your carrier.
  2. Accuracy in Weight and Measurements: Make sure your load is within the legal weight limits. It also has to have property distribution in the trailer to avoid the expenses of reworking the shipment.
  3. Include Extra Considerations: Additional equipment and handling considerations can include forklifts, pallet jacks, and liftgates. Avoid surprise charges by letting your carrier know in advance.
  4. Know Your NMFC Number: Your National Motor Freight Classification number for any LTL shipments helps in classifying your shipments.
  5. Audit All BOL Line Items: You need to communicate expectations during each stage of shipping so your BOL is filled out correctly and reduces potential errors.
  6. Be Ready for Surprises: Thorough planning can minimize surprises, but unexpected situations can always happen. Everyone involved in the freight shipping process needs to be flexible to keep things going.


Truckload accessorial charges are sometimes things you see coming, but other times they are not. While they might be itemized on your invoice, you might not always know what each of them is. The more you can educate yourself about this, the better prepared you are to see such charges coming. You'll also be more empowered to avoid them in the future. Working with a DFW trucking company is a good start. To anticipate charges, contact us to get a quote for your next shipment that needs to head out.

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