Written by Chad McDermott
A reliable 3PL plays defense for you a lot more often than you think. Why? LTL carriers' inspection departments are constantly trying to find ways to collect every nickel they can by taking money out of your pocket.
Hidden Fees and Problems
By inspecting BOL's as well as Googling pickup and delivery addresses looking for limited access, carriers’ inspection departments create unnecessary hassle to add additional fees. They are looking for ways to re-classify your equipment to gain revenue through a class increase, or by adding in a "limited access" charge or another accessorial charge.
Classification is determined by value, stowability, handling and density. Each shipment going out you should be taking a picture of the final packaged product, measuring the weight and all three dimensions (including the pallet). Any cones or anything adding to the bulk of the product should be included in the final dimensions (the greatest of each dimension is used to calculate density). Your 3PL can help you assign an NMFC # and class to put on the BOL. The more information you provide on the BOL, will lessen interest from the respective inspection teams.
Limited access is usually assessed for a location without a standard loading dock or without access for a tractor trailer semi. But we're also seeing it being charged for security delays, personnel delays in tendering the product, mini-storage facilities, medical facilities, churches and residences, among others.
Behind the Scenes Adjustments
At MoveIt®, we are seeing an adjustment on around 12-15% of the LTL shipments our customers tender to us. These can add up to several hundred dollars per shipment depending on the "violation”! Our operations team evaluates each one as it arrives, questioning the carrier and asking them to provide the proper documentation. We are able to eliminate some of the claims immediately due to improper documentation.
Sometimes a driver may have entered a limited access charge improperly, such as a medical facility that had 18-wheeler access and a fully staffed loading dock with no security procedures. The assumption of limited access is often billed out and probably not always challenged by a busy 3PL.
Did You Request a Lift-Gate?
A carrier will also often charge for a lift-gate usage even if you didn't request it. It's important to educate your origin and destination on what can be charged at pickup or delivery. Your 3PL should be calling ahead to both origin and destination and reviewing the packaging procedures as well as the expectations of/from the driver along with the ETA's for both pickup and delivery. This way they know when they see a driver operating a lift-gate unnecessarily to mention that they aren't authorized to approve a lift-gate charge, or giving their 3PL a quick call to let them handle it with dispatch.
Playing defense is big part of our jobs today. Make sure your 3PL is working as hard on the back end on defense as they are on the front end trying to get your business.
Interesting freight moved by MoveIt includes: Commercial Ovens, Dental Chairs, Anesthesia Machines, Backhoe, Centrifuges, Lift Chairs, Tissue Culture Chamber, Sandblaster, Lasers, Ventilators.
Chad graduated from Iowa State University in 1996 with a bachelor of science in Statistics and has been involved in operations management and marketing for 24 years. His current work at MoveIt is focused on customer and vendor network development. He is happily married with 3 sons who are all heavily involved in sports and music like their father.