Can Managed Accessorials Make or Break a Carrier Partnership?

One of the largest unforeseen events in the supply chain is shipment delays. Delays can occur for a variety of reasons, including, driver detention, loading and unloading issues and equipment breakdowns.   Sophisticated technology, systems and protocol characterize modern day supply chains; however, a consistent pain point for shippers is the continuous struggle to minimize accessorial costs.  Many shippers fail to realize that their behavior can make or break a carrier relationship.  Unforeseen events will arise, and shippers must be prepared to take a collaborative approach in rectifying the situation.  After all, accessorials now make up over 11% of the charges for commercial freight (Precision).

Accessorial charges can vary by individual carriers as there is no universal standard. However, carriers do not implement accessorials to make a profit, but rather to alleviate the high cost of operating trucks and to boost driver retention. Often times, there is a disconnection between shippers and carriers when it comes to these charges. It is vital that both parties collaborate and manage the following accessorial charges if they wish to create a mutually beneficial long-term partnership.

Common Accessorials 

  • Detention: Detention is classified by the time the driver spends waiting for the truck to be loaded, unloaded or approved for departure. During this time, a driver is on-duty yet idly waiting, and therefore losing miles and pay. Drivers earn detention when this occurs to provide compensation for the lost time and to increase driver retention.
  • Loading and Unloading: Often times, loads need additional equipment or assistance in order to be loaded or unloaded safely and securely.  Charges incur when a consignor or consignee requests a device, such as a lift gate, forklift or pallet jack, to lift or lower cargo. Additionally, lumpers are often requested to assist with loading and unloading and are in turn paid for their labor (Smart Freightware).
Accessorials By Mode:
  • Temperature-Controlled Accessorials: Loads requiring a temperature controlled trailer are prone to a unique set of accessorial charges. Due to the time sensitive nature and delicacy of common temperature-controlled commodities, accessorials play a significant role. Extended driver detention can be detrimental when shipping temperature-controlled cargo because even the slightest disruption in the cold chain can spoil or damage the load. It is vital that the product is always kept at the optimal temperature to ensure it is delivered in pristine condition.
  • Less-than-Truckload Accessorials: There are a variety of accessorials associated with Less-than-Truckload (LTL) shipments.Carriers are required to re-weigh about 80 percent of shipments due to shipper inaccuracy. This in itself is time-consuming and increases customer expenses. Additionally, charges are incurred if the freight is not properly packaged. Carriers often have to re-shrink wrap pallets and properly secure non-traditional items, such as loose cargo (Logistics Management). LTL shipments are also subject to additional fees for cargo length – typically any unit or piece exceeding that of 15 feet or greater in length (FedEx).
While avoiding accessorials altogether is next to impossible, it is important to be prepared for these unforeseen events. Partnering with the proper 3PL ensures that carriers you directly work with are reputable and trustworthy. Furthermore, it is essential that carriers and shippers agree upon pre-determined rates for individual accessorials. Managing accessorials through collaboration can create a long-term partnership that benefits both parties.  For more information on Load Delivered’s services and expertise, you can visit us at
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