January 12, 2023
Whenever a shipper works with a trucking company to transport their goods from one destination to another, they typically will work under a contract for that service.
Basic contracts include an agreed-upon rate for the freight that's being transported, as well as the timeframe in which the freight needs to be delivered.
On the final bill, shippers might also see accessorial charges, which are standard in transportation. These are extra fees for services that aren't include in the standard shipping contract and are picked on an a la carte basis.
The challenging part about accessorial charges for shippers is that they are usually added once delivery been finished. This makes it difficult for shippers to know how much their total cost would be to transport their products.
Shippers can better prepare themselves for these charges, though, by understanding some of the most common ones, what they cover and potential ways you can lower your bill.

Detention Charges

There are times when the driver might get backed up at the unloading or loading dock for an inordinate amount of time. If this happens, detention charges will typically be charged to cover this time. It's usually done on a per-hour basis at a set rate per-hour.
Most transportation contracts will include up to two hours waiting at a dock before detention charges are levied, but make sure to check your contract.

Layover Charges

Layover charges are a type of detention charge that is for a longer period of time. To be considered layover charges, the detention time is usually 24 hours or more. In this case, you will be charged a flat fee most times, rather than a per-hour fee.


TONU, or Truck Order Not Used, is a cancellation fee that will be applied if your order ends up falling through. TONU fees don't always apply for canceled orders, though, as they usually apply for a window that's predetermined.
Your contract should lay out what this window is. This will help you determine whether it's a good idea to proceed with a contract before you're sure the order can go out on time.

Tarp Charges

Some freight is best for a flatbed trailer, due to the size and weight of what's being transported. Flatbeds allow freight to be loaded by all sides and even the top, rather than just the back, and even by heavy machinery such as cranes.
Freight is exposed to the elements on flatbed trailers, though, which is a potential downside. You can always get tarps to protect your freight on flatbeds, but they take a lot of time to set up. So, if you require tarps to protect your goods on a flatbed, you'll likely pay additional tarp charges.

Reconsignment Charges

You may need to change the destination address after the driver has already started on the original route. Most trucking companies will be amenable to this change, but they'll hit you with reconsignment charges to do so.
How much you pay will be determined mainly based on the distance that exists between your original and new destinations. These charges should only be assessed to you if the delivery address is changed by you, and not if there's some confusion between a carrier and broker.

Hazmat Charges

If you have hazardous materials that you need to transport, your trucking company will have to take extra precautions to be safe. There are many rules and regulations from the Department of Transportation that trucking companies must follow when they're transporting hazardous materials.
If you know the materials you'll be shipping are hazardous before they come to pick them up, the extra costs can be built right into the main contract. If the driver doesn’t find out about this until they show up at your facility, though, you'll probably receive hazmat charges.

Special Equipment Charges

If what your shipping requires special equipment to protect it, then you may be hit with special equipment charges. How much of this accessorial charge you will be assessed depends on the equipment you require.
It could include blanket wraps, edge protectors or excess straps. The trucking company will add these fees based on what equipment they need to use, as well as how much of it they use.

Fuel Surcharges

It's no secret that gas prices around the country are on the rise. Many trucking company will pass on the extra fuel costs that they're incurring to shippers. They'll appear as fuel surcharges, rather than built into the actual contract.
The reason for this is that fuel surcharges are typically variable, based upon the current price of gas for your trip, as well as how much gas was required for the trip. When gas prices are higher, it's likely that you'll receive fuel surcharges.
They are categorized as accessorial charges because trucking companies might take them away altogether if fuel prices are reasonable.

Toll Fees

When driving on highways, truckers might incur toll fees. These charges are usually passed directly onto the shipper, and are normally the exact amount that the trucking company incurs. In other words, they won't markup the fees that they must pay while on the road.

Storage Fees

Depending on the timing of your delivery, it's possible that the carrier might need to store the goods either during or even before the trip. If this is necessitated, they may charge a storage fee.
Each carrier will handle these charges differently, with some charging a per-hour rate and some charging a per-day rate.

Oversize Charges

Every state sets a legal limit for the standard cargo size. Any shipment that is wider, heavier or longer than the specific limit is assessed additional fees.
These oversize charges will cover the cost that the trucking company will incur for obtaining the necessary permits to transport the freight. It also would cover the cost of having an escort drive alongside the load, depending on whether the states the company will be driving through requires that for your load.

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