Don’t let shipping surcharges creep up on you

As we enter the new tax year you may have received a rate increase from your logistics provider. Do you realise how you pack and ship your items can affect the overall cost you will be charged?

Part of efficient logistics management is monitoring costs. Flat rate shipping costs are becoming rare – now you are often given a shipping rate per kilo and a list of surcharges that may or may not apply depending on many factors. If you are not vigilant you could be charged one or all of the below surcharges.

Stackable or non-stackable?

Non-stackable freight can incur a surcharge because quite simply you can’t stack on top of it therefore you are taking up more space in the vehicle. Effectively you are being charged for the air above the pallet! Check if you can make your pallet stackable by reinforcing the lid or using sturdier shipping crates. This surcharge can be in the region of £130* per pallet! A small increase in packing costs could equal a big saving on shipping costs.

Oversized pallets

What is oversized? Some shipping companies would say if a pallet is over 1m square it is oversized so you get charged for it taking up more space. When packing your goods put them on the most compact pallet you can without compromising the safety of the goods. This surcharge can be in the region of £70* per piece. A little extra preparing in packing will save you money avoiding oversize surcharges.

Address Corrections

An obvious one but one if the address is slightly wrong -even an obvious or slight typo can lead to an address correction surcharge. Double check the shipping address including the zip code format (some need letters and numbers). A typical address correction surcharge can be around £4.50! Five minutes double checking these details can save you this cost. 

Remote area delivery

Not all deliveries can be in the heart of a city with good road connections. Remote area delivery can be applied for many reasons – sometimes it is just because the shipping company does not have a local depot so it is a special trip. In this case check with you customer – do they have a local courier you could use instead? Or could you deliver to a different site? This surcharge s normally a per kilo surcharge and can be in the region of 0.35p per kilo with a minimum of around £18* per piece!

If you were charged all of these on one shipment the surcharges alone would work out in the region of £204.50 on top of the shipping cost!!

Be smart check with the courier or shipping company and pack in accordance to their guidelines to avoid these costs. Also always make sure to weight your shipment accurately, take accurate dimensions and even a photograph it before despatch to prove how it was packed. 


*surcharge details correct at time of writing – taken from the DHL surcharges page.

Published by A Kennedy

An award winning, UK based, International Logistics Manager for a multinational tool company. Over 25 years experience in international logistics and supply chain management. Elected ‘Chartered Status’ by the CILT and ‘Expert Status’ by the IoSCM.

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