LTL Shipping Tip: Avoid Extra Accessory Charges from Common Carriers

Posted On 7th January 2016

It is darn painful when you work hard to book your LTL shipments cost-effectively and then the other party to the transaction – the shipper or the receiver – causes all kinds of extra charges to you even though you didn’t get the extra service, they did!

In other words, you did your job but they didn’t do theirs but you are obligated to pay for it.

Per Common Carrier tariffs, the party who books/pays for the freight has to pay ALL charges related to the shipment. From the Common Carrier’s perspective, it is YOUR load, and the services were provided to YOUR freight.

Further, out in the field these services must be provided instantly so they cannot stop the shipment, get authorization from you mid-pickup or mid-delivery, or get a check on the stop from the offending party, so their Tariffs protect them and make you liable to be charged automatically for these extra freight services provided.

Common accessory charges are Liftgate charges, driver unloading, the driver inside delivery, the driver inside pickup, reconsignment, redelivery charge, dry run charges, overlength fees, residential delivery, construction jobsite delivery, and of course charges for shipping incorrect class, weight, density, or dimensions.

If you pay freight bills, you are at risk on each part of the transaction you do not control.

For instance, if you are the shipper, if the truck goes to make the delivery but the receiver’s forklift is broken or the forklift driver is at lunch, and as a result, the carrier uses their liftgate to make the delivery, as the freight payer you are obligated to pay. You can go and try to charge your receiver on your own, but the common carrier tariffs all allow the carriers to charge and these days, they are doing it.

Similarly, if the freight is light and the receiver assured you they would hand unload, but the carrier again felt the receiver didn’t get out there immediately and stop him from using his liftgate, the liftgate charge will stick – it is a real risk. The same logic and charges applies if you are the Purchasing Manager except in reverse.

To avoid these situations obviously communicate with the other party – shipper or receiver – and know what the carrier will be up against when they arrive in advance – then you can price those services in to begin with to the original quote. Fully inform your broker / 3PL / forwarder / carrier what to expect and all risks of the shipment. Furthermore, help everyone out by adding relevant notes to the Bill of Lading.

Shipping can go smoothly if everyone follows the old dictum “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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