Terms & Glossaries of Shipping and Trading

Accessorial Charges

An accessorial charge is applied to shipping invoices for extra services. When an extra service is provided but not included within the initial estimate for services, this is an accessorial charge.

Understanding Accessorial Charges: Additional Fees in the Transportation Industry

In modern logistics and transportation operations, Accessorial Charges are a crucial concept. These charges may arise during the transportation of goods, affecting not only the cost structure but also the efficiency and reliability of the entire supply chain. This article will delve into the meaning, types, reasons for occurrence, and management methods of Accessorial Charges.

What are Accessorial Charges?

Accessorial Charges refer to additional services or fees beyond standard transportation services. They may arise due to special circumstances or additional services, typically not included in the basic transportation contract or fee structure. These charges may vary depending on the transportation provider, geographic location, nature of the goods, or service requirements.

Types of Accessorial Charges

1. Loading Charges: In some cases, transportation providers may charge loading fees, involving additional labor or equipment to load goods.

2. Unloading Charges: If the destination requires additional labor or equipment to unload goods, unloading charges may be incurred. This could be due to the lack of freight facilities at the destination or the need for special unloading services.

3. Liftgate Charges: For destinations without freight facilities or where goods need to be lifted, the use of a liftgate to move goods may result in liftgate charges.

4. Wait Time Charges: If drivers need to wait during the delivery or pickup process, beyond the free waiting time stipulated in the contract, wait time charges may be incurred.

5. Weekend/Night Service Charges: If goods need to be delivered or picked up during non-working hours, such as weekends or nights, transportation providers may charge additional fees.

6. Fuel Surcharge: This is a common additional charge related to fluctuations in fuel prices. Transportation providers may adjust fees based on changes in fuel prices.

7. Penalty Charges: Additional fees may be incurred if there is a breach of contract in delivery or pickup.

8. Insurance Charges: If additional insurance coverage is requested by the shipper, insurance charges may be incurred.

Reasons for Accessorial Charges

The occurrence of Accessorial Charges is typically related to the following factors:

Service Requirements: In certain situations, the nature of the goods or customer requirements may necessitate additional services, such as upstairs delivery or delivery during non-working hours.

Transportation Environment: The environment at the delivery or pickup location may require additional tools or labor to complete the loading or unloading of goods, resulting in additional charges.

Transportation Provider Policies: Each transportation provider has its own policies regarding additional charges, which may vary from company to company.

Market Factors: Market factors such as fluctuations in fuel prices may lead to changes in additional charges like fuel surcharges.

Management Methods for Accessorial Charges

Effective management of Accessorial Charges is crucial for reducing transportation costs and improving supply chain efficiency. Here are some methods for managing these charges:

Contract Management: Establish clear contracts with transportation providers to ensure all additional charges are clearly defined and agreed upon.

Data Analysis: Analyze transportation data to identify factors leading to additional fees and take measures to reduce their occurrence.

Supply Chain Optimization: Optimize supply chain design and processes to minimize the need for additional services, such as selecting more suitable delivery locations or times.

Negotiation Skills: Negotiate with transportation providers to secure favorable contract terms and fee structures.


Accessorial Charges play a significant role in modern logistics and transportation operations, impacting not only transportation costs but also the efficiency and reliability of the supply chain. By understanding the types, reasons for occurrence, and management methods of these charges, businesses can better manage and control transportation costs, thus improving overall operational efficiency.