Limited access charges were created to compensate LTL carriers for additional time spent at your shipment’s pick up or delivery locations and constraints that can result from these specific locations. Limited access is defined as meeting any of the following conditions:
- Not open to the walk-in public during normal business hours
- Not having personnel readily available to assist with the delivery or pickup function
- Not having access to loading dock or platform
- Sites where carriers are delayed with security related inspections and processes prior to freight tender
Did you know: Some of these high security locations will ask for a driver’s license and drivers have the right to refuse to do so? This causes the carrier to find a driver who is willing to do so, which in turn causes a domino effect or constraint on the daily operations of that particular terminal.
In order to avoid unexpected charges, it is best practice to ask the consignee if they have a dock or way to unload the freight and ask them if they need a liftgate for delivery. Liftgates are commonly associated with limited access and if the consignee advises they don’t need a liftgate, let them know that if the driver offers a liftgate and it is used OR signed for even without being used, there will be an additional fee that will be charged to them.
Limited access fees can be assessed on both commercial and non-commercial delivery sites. Charges and what constitutes as a limited access will vary based on carrier, but here are some of the most common examples:
Google Maps is a great tool that can be used to help explain whether or not a location has limited access. However, please keep in mind that even though the location is easy to get in and out of, and they may have the necessary equipment to unload, they may still be considered limited access. Some great examples of this are as follows:
- Farms: While they are easy to get to and have equipment, they usually take the driver off his/her usual route which causes delays for the other shipments on the trailer
- Mini Storage Units: The driver will have to use a smaller trailer with or without a liftgate and thus make fewer deliveries that day because of the space available on the trailer, so the charges are there to compensate
- Carriers normally have fewer trailers with liftgates which makes this even more difficult when the volume of limited access or liftgate shipments goes up
Keep in mind: Commercial buildings with docks are normally clustered in the same area, a carrier can easily make multiple pickups or deliveries in a business park in the same time it may take to make one limited access delivery.