Tips to Avoid Unforeseen LTL Charges


Tips to Avoid Unforeseen LTL Charges

Over the last few weeks, LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers have begun announcing general rate increases. Fortunately, there will be virtually no impact to Trinity customers from LTL carriers taking general rate increases. Trinity has negotiated agreements with the majority of LTL carriers we do business with that are not subject to general rate increases. Our negotiated agreements take into consideration our nationwide volumes to secure some of the best possible pricing in the marketplace. Trouble is, we can provide the best possible pricing on the LTL shipment, and you can still end up with extra charges on the invoice! No one likes surprises, least of all involving money, so listed below are some tips to help avoid unforeseen charges on LTL service invoices.


Like truckload, the LTL carriers have begun charging for called in pickups and they are not given the freight when the driver arrives. These charges vary with each carrier from $30 to $100 each time they attempt to pick up freight.  It’s important to communicate with the shipping facility to coordinate the correct pick up date for the freight to avoid this charge.


Give all of the details about your LTL shipment needs upfront to avoid surprise accessorial charges, even if you aren’t sure if it’s pertinent to the conversation. Does it require a delivery appointment, do both ends of the shipment have a dock or is a liftgate required for the delivery, etc? These requirements can result in extra charges from the LTL carrier but knowing the details from the start could also make a difference in the choice of the carrier, lining up one that doesn’t charge for a service you require for example. All LTL carriers have different rates for the “extras” and some of these charges are negotiated in our tariff pricing. Be patient when we ask a lot of questions, we’re using our experience to avoid costly surprises on your behalf!


What is the value of the freight? The liability for spot quote freight is only $1.00 per lb but we can also offer coverage (shippers interest insurance) to make sure the value is covered in case of a claim. This is a valuable product at a reasonable charge to ensure the freight is covered.  LTL freight moves through their system by stopping at many terminals and changing trailers before it reaches the final destination.  It does not stay on one trailer. Volume freight does not have a guaranteed delivery date and can require additional days in transit as the freight LTL moves as capacity is available.


When shippers do not have scales at their facilities, it could be tempting to give an approximate weight. Trouble is, the freight could be reweighed by the carrier. This also results in additional charges not only for the extra weight but also a charge for the reweigh “service”. Know the weight of your pallet, and if you don’t, expect the price fluctuation.


Know the class of the freight and have it on the bill of lading along with the NMFC number to avoid inspections. If you’re uncertain, talk to our LTL team about the commodity so our experts can guide you. The worst thing you can do is guess or rely on “what’s always been used before”. LTL carriers can and will inspect the freight to invoice for the correct class, resulting in higher charges!

The important thing is to lean on your Trinity representative, ask questions about the freight and the LTL process. It’s our job to deliver solutions and education, use us as your resource. It may seem inconvenient but it could save you many surprise charges in the long run.

Looking to learn more about our LTL division?