How to save money on heavy haul freight

Basic charges in a heavy haul or super heavy haul freight transport contract include baseline fuel charge, fuel surcharge and tolls, wear and tear on the truck and trailer (mileage), and the driver’s time.

Driver detention - don't keep them waitingSo, what are you paying for? Fundamentally, it’s the driver’s time and the right trailer for the job.


Contracts are written as templates with a standardized fuel charge. In order to recoup changes at the pump, a fuel surcharge based on the current price of fuel is normal.

Anything that happens beyond these basics are additional expenses – add-ons called accessorial charges. Depending on your type of business you may have other normal and expected accessorial charges that may be figured into the contract.

This is how FreightMonster dispatchers can save you money on heavy haul and oversized freight

Our dispatchers learn about your business in order to negotiate these accessorial fees in advance on your behalf, saving you time and money. This relationship between shipper and dispatcher helps to match up the right trailers and drivers for your freight. The dispatcher can help the driver map a route that causes the least disruption and follows state and municipal regulations.

Since you are paying for the driver’s time, it is important to coordinate with the driver for pickup and delivery to get the driver back on the road as quickly as possible. If you must cancel a shipment, call as soon as possible. If a driver can book another load, you may be able to pay a reduced fee for a truck ordered but not used.

Accessorial charges for heavy haul loads

Foreseeable add-on charges depending on your business


In general, the shipper is responsible for loading and unloading and to fulfill these requirements at the scheduled times. The shipper must understand that a heavy haul trailer may require extra room for turn around.

Driver responsibilities include:

  • Secure the load (which can mean re-securing during the drive depending on state regulations)
  • Provide chocks, chains, tie downs and whatever is needed to secure the load
  • Measure the load to identify permit requirements along the route

The dispatcher responsibilities often include:

  • Coordinate a crane appointment if the freight is not wheeled or tracked, as well as mediating and negotiating when any party causes a missed appointment
  • Schedule roll back service when there isn’t a loading dock

Pilot Cars

heavy haul freight pilot carsMany states require pilot cars if your freight is especially large or tall, although the exact size when it becomes a requirement depends upon the state. The number of pilot cars needed depends on the state and the dimensions of the cargo. Pilot cars warn other traffic of an oversized load. This helps ensure safety and to get the load to the destination on time.

Delivery notification

When you require the driver to notify and coordinate a delivery with the consignee, expect a charge for this service. This service is less expensive than a redelivery charge or storage fees.


heavy haul to military baseRestricted or limited access

Government facilities and private or restricted non-commercial locations such as prisons often require extra effort and time for inspections, for coordinating escorts, and because they often don’t have loading docks.

Residential and city

heavy haul freight in cityFor many reasons, pickup and delivery where streets are congested, narrow, and have limited parking, means extra cost. There can be unforeseen delays due to detours, accidents, and extra miles to navigate around restricted use areas. Arrival time is difficult to pinpoint. Loading and unloading can create their own problems especially if the right equipment isn’t on hand.

city streets

team driversTeam driving

In order to transport within a short time frame, team driving makes sense. This is generally an additional charge per mile. Drivers switch between driving and resting to meet strict regulations on drive time.

super heavy haul freight permitsOversize / Overweight Permits

Permits are required for oversized and overweight loads. Routes and times for transport of heavy haul, oversized, and super loads are frequently restricted and vary by state and city. A good dispatcher works out a route and determines the permits required in order to build them into the contract.

Accurate dimensions and weight specifications are important.

hazordous materialHazardous materials

Drivers will charge for paperwork and risk to carry this type of material.

after hours freight deliveryAfter hours / holiday / weekend deliveries

Drivers may only want to deliver during normal working hours because it can take extra time to find the proper authority to accept and sign off on documents, or find labor to unload. In addition, the driver needs to make sure to work these deliveries into a schedule so as not to go over the driving hours allowed.

Unusual or unplanned charges

Good planning will minimize these heavy haul accessorial charges. Anything that holds a driver from making it to their next contract will cost you. If you find yourself in any of these situations, your dispatcher will mediate to keep all parties satisfied and the job accomplished expediently.


Detention is the time a driver sits around waiting for loading or unloading. Driver time is probably more expensive than having the goods and personnel ready when the driver arrives.

In the past, drivers could make up time by driving longer hours or a few miles per hour faster. Now, with electronic logging devices (ELD), the driver can’t afford delays and they have proof of arrival and detention time.

It is fair and reasonable to pay the driver if you hold them longer than expected. Make sure you know how much detention is allowed before the driver starts charging by the hour. Generally, the detention time built into the contract is 2-3 hours.

Missed Crane or Rollback Appointment

When an expensive crane scheduled for loading or unloading is held over, the shipper pays assuming the driver has been in continuous communication regarding arrival and delivery. The dispatcher will help coordinate and negotiate when this situation occurs.


When a driver can’t find another load from the delivery point, or a backhaul to return to home base, the driver’s bid will build in a higher cost of delivery. A dispatcher will help coordinate loads so the driver doesn’t travel empty. This will save all parties.

Layover / Redelivery

When an overnight layover is required because of shipper or receiver delays, the driver’s expenses are reimbursable by the shipper. Each failed attempt at redelivery that requires layover is chargeable. This is to cover the driver’s lost income from another load already scheduled. This in turn can cause issues for the next shipper. Work with your dispatcher to avoid these heavy haul accessorial charges.

Diversion / reconsignment

Changing the delivery location after the driver arrives at the agreed pickup point can add time and fuel costs. If the new location is within the agreed number of miles and is communicated timely, there may not be an extra fee.

Storage Fees

This occurs when a driver arrives on time, but cannot unload the shipment for any reason that day. Compensation is for the time the trailer is out of commission while holding your freight. The driver may decide to store the load in another facility until the new delivery date is made.  See layover / redelivery.

TONU – truck ordered but not used

Sometimes, the freight load is not ready for pickup or an order from the consignee cancels delivery. There is generally a cut-off time after which a driver expects payment for extra work to reschedule or find another load. Work with your dispatcher to avoid these heavy haul accessorial charges.


A driver will inspect the freight before accepting it. If the freight was not described accurately according to National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC), the time it takes to reclassify can be added to the bill. If the bill of lading (BOL) doesn’t accurately describe the freight, the driver may refuse to accept it or require the BOL be revised.

In addition, the driver may reweigh the load and charge accordingly.


If a truck or trailer is damaged during loading or unloading by the shipper or consignee (or their designees), the driver/carrier is compensated.

Note: This list is not all inclusive and charges vary by state, municipality, and driver / carrier experience. 

So, how much will it cost?

As you can see, poor planning or difficult circumstances can cause the final bill to multiply quickly.


For instance, you sold a used road grader, but the buyer cancels the order at the last minute. You get on the phone and find another buyer, but the new delivery location is 400 miles further and the new buyer can’t accept the delivery until a day later. Meanwhile, the truck you ordered to haul it arrives and is ready to load.

Do you allow the driver to load and then pay for layover, redelivery and storage fees plus extra miles? You may need to negotiate with the driver to see if it’s possible to wait at either origin or destination or if it’s necessary to find another driver and pay for a truck ordered but not used.

In a situation like this, a good dispatcher is worth their weight in gold because they will negotiate on your behalf using tools and contacts to solve this problem with the least cost to you and a viable alternate load for the driver.

Call Dispatch to book a load (877) 419-5523

Trailers often used for heavy haul freight and super heavy loads:

Multi axle flatbed – 48,000 and up depending on number of axles

RGN (removable gooseneck) – 150,000 lbs

Stretch RGN – 400,000 lbs

Specialized – – 200,000 lbs

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