Accessorial charges are additional fees charged by a shipping company for services that fall outside routine pickup and delivery of packages and shipments. Such charges are typically assessed in the form of a flat fee, and most companies publish schedules of accessorial charges to make customers aware of the kinds of charges they may be subject to in association with a shipment. These charges can vary between shipping companies, and customers with large or frequent orders may want to shop around to determine where the best deal may lie.
Shippers can assess accessorial charges for special handling like cash on delivery, third party pickup, insurance, and so forth. Fuel, waiting time, and indoor delivery may also be subject to additional charges. These charges may be based on a per-shipment fee, or may be assessed by weight and size, depending on the type of service being provided. Shipments can also incur charges if they go outside a routine delivery route, as in the case of rural route surcharges used by some shipping companies in the United States. Drivers and other handlers maintain careful records on anything that may be subject to accessorial charges for the benefit of their employers.
At the time an order is consigned for shipment, a representative of the shipping company should determine if any special charges apply. For a very basic pickup and delivery, no additional fees may apply; the client will be charged a rate appropriate to the speed and type of shipping. As soon as clients begin to request extra services, the shipper can begin to add accessorial charges.
It is also possible to incur accessorial charges because of something that happens in the course of shipment. For instance, shipping companies may charge extra if they need to redeliver because someone is not present to sign for the shipment or as a result of another problem like a locked gate. Likewise, shippers may charge if the recipient requests a special service, like indoor delivery of pallets scheduled for a regular drop off.
Cost of a shipment can increase significantly once accessorial charges are added on. Businesses shipping to customers may need to consider this and structure such charges into shipping estimates on the basis of available information about the shipment. If they fail to do so, they could take a loss on the cost of shipping, or might be forced to contact the client to make changes to the order.