Definitions of Common Accessorial Charges

Definitions of Common Accessorial Charges

December 14, 2021

Accessorial charges are fees added to a freight bill for additional services that the carrier might provide or incur beyond the standard pick-up and delivery activities. The charges could be fixed or time-based. They are mode agnostics but occur more often with LTL shipments or in delivery locations that require special handling.

Here are some of the most common Accessorial Charges:



If a carrier is delayed for any reason (over 2 hours) at a shipper/receiver, detention charges may apply. Shipping contracts typically allow for some detention time, but charges are applied if a driver is detained beyond the time noted.  


Diversion Miles/Re-consignment

A fee for lost fuel and time may be charged if a carrier has to drive to a different location upon arrival at the shipper’s or receiver’s address.


Fuel Surcharge

A surcharge is charged according to the current price of fuel. 


Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) require proper government documentation during transport. The added health risk, extra paperwork, and special handling are compensated through a hazardous materials accessorial fee. There are 9 classes of hazmat:

    • Class 1 – Explosives
    • Class 2 – Gases
    • Class 3 – Flammable Liquids
    • Class 4 – Flammable Solids
    • Class 5 – Oxidizing Substances
    • Class 6 – Toxic & Infectious Substances
    • Class 7 – Radioactive Materials
    • Class 8 – Corrosives
    • Class 9 – Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods


A charge will apply if the truck is unable, for whatever reason, to be unloaded/loaded during its slated delivery day. 



Commercial trucks are designed to use warehouse and distribution loading docks at the same heights as the truck to load and unload. When shipments are being delivered to locations with no loading dock, they must use liftgate equipment. A liftgate is a special hydraulic platform fitted on the back of a truck that can raise or lower a shipment to and from the truck’s trailer to the ground.


Lumper or Driver Load/Unload

Unloading a vehicle is often outside the general job requirements of a carrier. So, if the driver must load or unload the freight, they charge for the labor. Additionally, at large distribution warehouses, third-party laborers, often called “lumpers” get paid to unload cargo. Distributors pass these charges on to shippers as a “lumper” fee. Cold storage or high-touch complex facilities may have unloading fees to account for the required special handing needed to unload freight. 



When an order takes up more space than a pallet, it costs additional to transport. Carriers must specially configure loads to accommodate. This fee is most often incurred when an order exceeds 12 feet.



There are several reasons a carrier may need to redeliver an order; if no one is available to accept the delivery, if the shipment is rejected by the receiver, if the necessary equipment isn’t on-site, etc. 


Sort and Segregate (Sort/Seg)

When a driver is required to break up an order and move product from one pallet to another. There is often a minimum fee set that can increase based on weight and package size. This most often occurs for deliveries into grocery warehouses.


Truck Ordered Not Used (TONU)

Orders can sometimes fall through. Most carrier contracts will have a clause allowing for a TONU, but with limitations. There is only a charge if the truck is canceled after a pre-established cut-off time.


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