Less-Than-Truckload Motor Carrier Fuel Surcharge Utilization

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007


Master of Business Administration



Committee Chair

John Kent


Fuel surcharge policies are utilized by transportation companies to transfer the expense associated with capricious fuel prices to their shippers. As the impact of these fuel surcharge policies becomes a significant portion of transportation invoices increased animosity and distrust are expressed by shippers. The objective of this study is to discover how less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers develop and utilize fuel surcharge policies to recover their fuel expense. Thirty-nine top LTL carriers were called on to explain their perspective and methodologies with regard to fuel surcharge policies. Part-to-whole qualitative analysis is conducted to summarize responses from a standardized interview protocol additionally twenty-five published fuel surcharge policies were obtained and analyzed to yield the disparities among LTL fuel surcharge policies. Findings show that while carriers were evasive with regard to discussion of their fuel surcharge development, in practice there were two primary methodologies that leave all carriers with very similar fuel surcharge policies. In terms of pricing, fuel surcharges are simply another lever that shippers often fail to pull during rate negotiations and that carriers work hard to protect.

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations


© Keith Brandon Grant