What is a Limited Access Charge in LTL freight?

If you have received an adjusted invoice this is called a “rebill” in the LTL world. Rebills can be terribly frustrating. Especially when the freight quote you received from the LTL carrier was part of a larger cost structure that can’t be passed on somewhere. At BAM Freight we move several million dollars worth of LTL freight a year. We are very familiar with rebills. Our hope is this article will shed some light on these charges for you and help you avoid them in the future.

What is a limited access charge?
Limited access charges are added for two reasons.

  1. First, the location they need to get into is too small to maneuver around in with a full size 53′ van trailer. In this case the limited access charge is assessed because the carrier needs to use a smaller truck like a PUP or a straight truck.
  2. The second reason a carrier would charge this fee is when the location has a security restriction of some kind. For example, a military base, power plant, marine terminal, airport, etc.

Why would an LTL freight carrier bill a limited access fee?

LTL freight carriers charge for this kind of location for a variety of reasons. Here are a few.

  • These locations require smaller trucks. Carriers typically have less of these so they charge more for them.
  • Limited access points can often be hard to move around in, which increases risk. As the old saying goes, “Greater risk requires greater reward.”
  • Limited access points can often require take longer to service. This may not just be because the loading dock is slow. It could be due to congestion around the location or other reasons. More time = less stops = less revenue so they charge more.

Can I dispute the limited access charge not on my freight quote?

Honestly, these charges are pretty difficult to dispute. If the location requires a smaller truck or has restrictions then the charge is considered valid. Unfortunately, LTL carriers are very forgiving and likely to waive charges like these, especially because they have tangible costs to cover. That said, carriers do make mistakes so it does make sense to investigate.

At BAM Freight we deal with limited access locations all the time. We also have special tarrifs in place for limited access locations that are much lower then what you would get if you called the carrier direct. For more information email rate@bamfreight.com or fill out our quote form. Also, when you ship with us we can help facilitate the dispute as well. We’ll save you time by doing the investigation too.

If you want to see if there is some ground to dispute the charge here are some tips:

  • If the charge was for space limitation at the location, then our recommendation is to use google maps street view to learn about the location. Usually you can tell for yourself if the location seems too small for a 53 trailer. If so, screen shot the location and send it to the carrier.
  • If the charge was for a security restriction, the best way to validate this and dispute it is to check the locations website or call the location. They will know what their requirements are better then anyone.

How can we avoid these charges in the future?

This is a great question and the answer is, 99% of the time you can’t avoid them completely. Here are your options to avoid or reduce the freight expense:

  • In some instances you can find a carrier that has a special agreement with the location and they don’t charge the fee because they go there so much.
  • If you are going to be shipping to the location often and are going to be using the same carrier each time you might try negotiating a special LTL discount.
  • You could work with a company like BAM Freight that has special discounted tariffs with hundreds of LTL carriers to reduce the cost to you.
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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Transportation Executive with experience in developing processes and controls for early stage start up companies. Specialties include: Sales, Marketing, Transportation, Trucking, Brokerage, Project Transport and Rail Operations.,Organizational Design, Process Development, Accounts Receivable Management, Leadership, and Business Start-ups.

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