An accessorial is an additional service that is provided by a freight carrier or logistics service provider beyond the standard service of the transportation of goods. These services are not initially covered in the base rate fee, and their related costs show up as additional accessorial surcharges or fees to your freight invoice.

Accessorial surcharges or fees are assessed by carriers and freight modes, including parcel, less-than-truckload (LTL), and truckload (TL) shipping. Accessorial fees vary depending on the carrier and the specific requirements of the shipment.

Accessorials include a wide range of services, such as:

  • Residential deliveries
  • Loading and unloading
  • Address corrections
  • Liftgate services
  • Stop-overs
  • Freight reweigh and reclassification
  • Advance notification
  • Signature requirements
  • Metro pickup or delivery
  • Inside delivery
  • Oversized or overlength shipments
  • Additional steps
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Detention
  • Storage
  • After-hour delivery
  • Border crossings

Accessorial surcharges can add significant costs to a shipper’s freight invoice and result in sudden spikes in expenses if they are not accurately included and calculated when a shipment’s delivery cost is being calculated or if they are added after by the carrier during delivery.

Pre-Planning to Reduce Accessorial Costs

Most accessorial charges can be anticipated before shipment takes place and included on the initial bill. These kinds of charges may include:

  • Special handling or equipment
  • Special permits and escorts
  • Residential or commercial delivery address
  • Additional distance and time

However, it is not unusual for additional services to be required after the shipment has been picked up for delivery. In this case, the carrier will include the added accessorial charges to the invoice after completing the load.

Avoid Unexpected Accessorial Surcharges

You can reduce unexpected accessorial charges by ensuring that complete carrier freight rates, transit times, services, and applicable accessorial charges are stored in your shipping or manifesting system for accurate pre-shipment freight cost calculations and auditing their monthly invoices.

Compare Carrier Freight or Shipping Rates and Surcharges

Another best practice is to deploy a multi-carrier shipping system that compares multiple carrier services, times-in-transit, rates, and surcharges when calculating total delivery cost. This is the best way to monitor and control overall freight costs.

Eliminate Address Correction Charges

When the order fulfillment system is integrated with address validation software, it can provide upfront address corrections and monitor for shipments incorrectly flagged as residential or commercial deliveries – which will result in address correction surcharges if the carrier fixes the problem.

Ensure Lowest Freight Rates with Cartonization Software

Another best practice is to add cartonization software to your warehouse execution and control system. Cartonization software is a warehouse automation software solution that analyzes orders to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective packing choice to minimize shipping costs. It accelerates the process by eliminating the need for warehouse workers to manually measure order items and “guess” which shipping carton size is best.

Benefits of Cartonization Software

  • Increase productivity by automatically providing carton size decisions for workers.
  • Reduce tasks such as manual measurements and calculations.
  • Reduce operational costs by reducing the use of excess order packing materials.
  • Reduce costs by eliminating shipping orders in larger-than-necessary boxes shipped at higher carrier rates.

Learn More

White Paper: Warehouse Automation Guide

Blog: How Combining Cartonization with Order Release Software Reduces Operational and Shipping Costs

Product: Ensure Accurate Freight Charge Calculations with Dimensioning Weighing & Scanning Systems

Infographic: How to Create a More Profitable Warehouse


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