If you’re using a good broker, such as FreightPros, you’ll know that we audit every invoice we receive from the carrier before passing it on to the customer. This allows us to make sure each and every additional charge is legitimate. It’s our way of helping you simplify your shipping. In that spirit, let’s talk about the “Limited Access” invoice charge.
A limited access fee is an additional charge added to your freight bill due to the carrier’s consideration of extra service or time, and may be applied in several different instances. It’s one of the most common types of accessorials we see here at FreightPros, and ironically, one that can be avoided (or at least planned for).
One general way to think about this type of service is if your shipment is delivering to or being picked up at any commercial establishment that is not open to the walk-in public during the normal business hours of 8AM-5PM (though this does not mean it won’t qualify for limited access). Examples may include construction sites, fairs and carnivals, mine sites, schools or universities, churches, storage facilities, piers, airports, farm or ranches, campgrounds, zoos, reservations, government facilities, hotels/motels or resorts, hospitals, doctor’s offices and small strip malls. Always remember it is up to the carrier to determine whether or not a location is “limited.”
Unfortunately, if your shipment meets the requirements listed above, there is little to do about a genuine limited access charge. If you’re shipping to a limited access location, it’s best to get the charge out of the way during the quoting process, pay the extra money for the accessorial and place the “Limited Access” on the freight bill of lading. At least this way you won’t find yourself with any surprise charges at the end of the day.
If you’re convinced that you were wrongfully charged for limited access, contact your third party freight broker and they’ll be able to dispute the charge with the freight carrier.
A new additional service that we’ve run into this year is an offshoot of the Limited Access charge known as “Restricted Access.” This is a completely separate accessorial than the regular limited access accessorial. This charge applies to high security delivery or pickup locations, areas such as prisons, or military bases. Locations that require the restricted access charge often have guard gates, and sometimes even special permits are needed to enter the premises. These restricted access charges are more expensive than your standard limited access fee, so be sure to confirm with your freight broker before shipping to or from a location that might be restricted.
If you already know that one of your shipping locations is considered limited access, there a few things you can do to make sure you avoid any delays in the pickup or delivery of your freight. Many limited access locations require special permission to enter (prisons, government institutions, universities) so make sure to have the necessary contact name and phone number of the person at the location. That way, if anything goes wrong they can easily get in touch with the contact at the location, instead of taking the freight back to the terminal. It’s also important to notate any instructions on the BOL pertaining to special equipment that will be needed. For instance, if the limited access point is quite literal, a small parking lot or fenced in compound perhaps, then a small “box truck” might be needed to fit into the space. Make sure this information is on the BOL so the driver and carrier both know what kind of truck your freight needs to be delivered (or picked up) with.
As always, if you’re working with a broker like FreightPros, we’ll be able to help you sort through the mess of limited access. That’s what it means to make freight simple, and that’s what we do.