Unfortunately, truck detention is a common and almost unavoidable occurrence. Not only is it irritating, but detention wastes precious time and money.
Not only that, but it can delay other pickups and deliveries, essentially ruining any scheduling and planning.
Now you might be wondering, is there any way to reduce detention time? Continue reading below as we explore what detention is and how to reduce it.
What is Truck Detention?
If you’re new to trucking, you may not know what truck detention is. Truck detention is any extra time a driver spends waiting at a delivery or pickup location.
Usually, there’s a two-hour window that truckers have to wait for the cargo to be loaded or unloaded. However, if the loading or unloading takes longer than two hours, then the extra time is called detention.
As you can imagine, truck detention wreaks havoc on scheduling in addition to wasting time and resources like fuel.
Detention Time Relies on the Shippers
The problem with truck detention is that it usually relies on the shippers or receivers. After all, it’s them that need to load or unload the goods from the truck.
There’s a good incentive for shippers and receivers to make this process as fast as possible. That’s because shippers and receivers need to pay carriers a fee for any detention time.
However, these fees usually don’t cover the cost of the wasted time. On top of that, it can be a real pain to get this compensation from the shippers or receivers.
No matter whether you’re an owner-operator or manage a fleet, detention is a problem that loses a lot of money.
How Shippers and Receivers Minimize Detention
Of course, shippers and receivers have multiple ways that they can reduce detention time. What they usually do is:
- Stagger appointment times—This improves pickup times and reduces the possibility of detention.
- Extended facility hours—More hours on the weekend or evening can help reduce congestion at the warehouse.
- Have dock awareness—Make sure that dockworkers have the load ready for the carrier at the appointed time.
- Use drop-hook programs—Drivers can simply unhitch their trailer and keep moving and earning while the freight is either loaded or unloaded.
- Add more dock doors—if the warehouse is big enough, adding more dock doors can reduce congestion.
- Use mode-specific dock doors—Shippers and receivers can separate docks based on truckload, which can help minimize detention time.
Can Truckers Themselves Reduce Detention Time?
Now for the million-dollar question—can truckers do anything about detention time? The short answer is no because it’s up to the shippers and receivers.
However, you can try to be proactive and ask questions before booking loads. You can try to see if a shipper or receiver is serious about reducing detention time by how they operate their warehouse.
If they are taking measures to reduce detention time, then you will likely benefit as well. It’s a good idea to drop shippers and receivers who constantly detain you or your drivers.
Unfortunately, detention time is just a fact of trucking life. The problem is often out of truckers’ hands, and there’s not much that can be done.
The best thing to do is stick to shippers and receivers who are serious about reducing detention time.