How would you fix the problem of excessive loading/unloading delays?

| August 20, 2013

  • John Scott

    I think a lot of trucking issues could begin to be solved if drivers were required to be paid for all duties associated with their job. It does not matter how that is paid for. It could be a combination of increased rates, agreed upon contracts between carriers and shippers or a simple charge based on time at a shipper or receiver. When you consider how much on duty time is NOT compensated for by anyone. This includes fueling, unloading/loading, inspections, break downs and so on. The job of the truck driver is filled with too many unpaid hours that still have to be done.

  • Mountain Momma

    I agree!

  • Charbella

    I agree with you John Scott. My husband is an owner operator and he has spent several hours waiting to get loaded/unloaded. This is very frustrating especially when drivers have a specific time to deliver the load. I think drivers should be compensated for everything that you mentioned. Kudos to all the drivers out there.

  • Hooty

    The only way to get a shipper/receiver to do the job is to get them where it hurts, the wallet. Max. time at the dock is 2 hrs, after that the dock will be billed $75.00 for every hr. or part there of over the 2 hr. limit to be paid to the driver no the company. The dock can pay the company but the company must pay the driver on the paycheck relating to the load.

  • Hooty

    Also, the docks are responsibility of loading and unloading, the driver is left out of the equation. The job of the driver is to drive, no fighting with lumpers, dock people about the work needing to be done, ect. The driver’s job is to drive, that’s it.

  • TOM

    I have decided on changing the system on how I am going to handle this. Instead of charging by the mile, weight or distance. I decided I am going to charge by the day. A flat day rate. Add 10% if I have to go and get a factor. If it is beyond the on duty hours charge layover $300 charge plus another day. No extra charges for stops, weight, distance, drops, or fuel. The distance is limited to the hours that we do. The weight we have to have for both safety and legal reasons. Most cost is by the day, tax and insurance is base on time. It only fuel and few other things that is base on mileage. The overall cost is the same as far measurement base on a day. If we sit, it paid for. I charge $2000 for a 45 ft or longer truck or set of doubles. For 35 to 40 ft $1500, etc… You are really charting me to handle the freight.

  • TOM

    The truck only can burn so much fuel in a day. So using these facts the cost it take to operate in a day as a base what you have to charge. It make no different if you just moving a case or a truck load, the cost per day will be the same. That is what you have to make to stay in business. If you sit that day as detention you have been paid by the payee. You have fixed cost no matter what you do. The only time you do not get paid when there is no shipments and you are at home. That why I like by the day.

  • Tim Butler

    Let all drivers be paid by the hour. The trucking companies will be forced to have the shippers load and unload us quicker or they will lose money.

  • haller

    shippers and receivers will fill out logs, inspected by the DOT.. Any loading or unloading more than 1 (one) hr. will go on their life long record plus a stiff fine, 2 or 3 violations will be a loss of their business for life. One more thing, if they talk on a cell phone while working they will be fined $2,000 to the lift truck driver and $10,000 to the company. A bit stiff, well what will these office-college people think of next,, how about a fitness program for shippers and receivers or lets appoint Anthony Foxx in charge of all shippers and receivers, (which he knows nothing about). Best of all, lets have all on loading and off loading records be ELECTRONIC, so they can be controlled be the DOT and college/office people because they need something to do. Sound like I’ve lost it, well this is reality for me..

  • MercenaryMan

    Shippers and recievers have a sign in sheet that Im sure nobody reads, Use a digital stamp that sends an email to the trucking company, they then mark that and as the load progresses THEY can make a phone call and say HEY WHY IS THERE SO MUCH DELAY, because when the trucker does it hes considered a %^*^$** and they slow down even more. This could be a easily adopted system, everybody has email, enter the dock and truck # and the email is sent from a small terminal at the shippers office, you have a time/date stamp and the Office workers can then go about hating each other for delays.

  • Kurt

    Mandate that all shippers and receivers that hold trucks for more than 2 hours must have parking facilities for drivers to take their 10 hour breaks. They will work at light speed to avoid this!

  • His & Hers Transport

    Force shippers and receivers to pay the DRIVER, not the company, $20 per hour for the first hour and then $40 per hour for every hour after that at ALL times! Why should we be forced to eat ANY hours on the road for free??!! Stand up as drivers and log legally, we aren’t the ones that came up with these ridiculous HOS rules. Levy BIG fines on companies for forcing drivers to run over hours or retaliating against drivers who won’t run illegally because of delays not in the drivers control, i.e., long loading/unloading times, weather, traffic jams, etc.
    I would also do away with the scam of lumpers. How could have drivers of generations past allowed themselves to be conned into paying a customer to unload that customer’s own freight that they wanted delivered is beyond me! I know it’s a pipedream since we can’t usually get two drivers to agree on the weather when they’re both experiencing it at the same time…. But hey, I can hope….

  • Trouble

    It’s all a game that the people play. Shipping & receiving personal hid behind the UNION! They already know how many loads they need to load/unload in a day, when they come to work. Also they know when DETENTION TIME starts, & you can never hold a ACE. No one is going to change it until Company’s are stronger than the UNION’S, every one there is afraid of the waves/problems that can cause. Every one in the place will stop working because these poor people are being abused, YA RIGHT. The Company don’t want the Wheel to stop turning because of a bad spoke, so they overlook the problem. It has been this way forever, I have been there for 45 years, & it has only got worse. You have to find someone that cares before you can get a problem solved. Every body uses the Trucker as there warehouse. Remove from the truck and go on there truck or there processing equipment. This is called JUST IN TIME Freight with no up charge. Who cares about the driver in a trucking CO.
    Only the owner that drives a truck. The bean counter’s could care less. It is time that every one goes back to the ranking system. No one gets a JOB in the office until they go up threw the ranks, doing all jobs in the facility. The OLD SCHOOL is the only way to but people in the right frame of mind. Good luck on changing anything. they have got away with this CRAP for 50 or more years already, & it’s going to be a EARTH shattering move to change it.

  • Red Leg

    I hate to say it but, more government involvement with a federal regulations on detention time and fees. I have had trucks sit at one of our vendors location (Evraz Claymont Steel in Claymont, DE) for 12 hours waiting to get loaded, This is after an appointment is set up 48 hours in advance. We are the receiver of the steel and weather it is our truck or and outside carrier, after 2 hours we hit them with $65 an hour detention time. You would think after a couple of times this wouldn’t be a problem, but it still is. This has been going on for at least year there. $65 an hour sounds good but when you got other appointments to make and you can’t make them it not that sweet.

  • gary d

    all shippers/receivers should be drop and rehook we could all run down to the truckstop and go off duty until they call us when we are ready to roll again.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    As long as you have people involved with deciding who loads and how long it takes, it is always going to screw the driver. The only way to counter that is have the driver paid for sitting on his ass waiting. Oh and down time should count towards break time after it reaches a certain point.

    Just what ever you do keep the government out of it…can anyone solve a problem anymore without regulations. I’m guessing, if any regulation came out of Washington on this issue, it would benefit the shipper and hurt the trucker or specifically, the O/O.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Maybe, or they’ll just keep dropping the hourly rate until they can afford the delays.

  • Aaron

    It’s a good idea, but I would say to charge them a full day’s running cost after 2.5 hours. Otherwise they will hold you just long enough where you can’t get anything else done, but not long enough to get charged for it.

  • Aaron

    I say we figure out what it costs to run the truck per hour in motion. What does fuel cost? What would driver’s pay be? Then when the load is scheduled to be either picked up or dropped off, whoever the customer is should pay that amount x24 for each stop as a deposit. If the driver is in and out in less than 2 hours, they get all their money back. If not, the company keeps (and fwds to the driver) all of the deposit that is kept for wait time.

  • Shaggy

    There is no easy answer to this. If the government gets in the middle of this you will not like the end result (they have never done anything without screwing it up, just look at hours of service). If you mandate detention on all shippers, then all shippers will have to go to strict appointment times.I think if you have an appointment time, they made the appointment if they hold the driver up they should pay extra

  • sundance

    Ithink the shipper and receiver should pay detention time for anything over 1 hour and the rate should $75.00 per hour and should pay it when the truck is released from the dock and they should not charge any lumper fee for unloading there product for most of the brokers is charging detontion time that is why they want to know what time you got there and what time you was released so if its not paid direct to the truck the driver or owner op. want get it

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    So many different problems in our industry are directly caused by shippers and receivers, and will never be solved until they are made to PAY.

    After two hours waiting past the appointment time, the driver needs to be compensated by the entity doing the detaining. If you are in the act of being loaded or unloaded, you are on duty, you are to be paid for that time.

    For far too long, drivers are expected to work for free, and the trucking companies that hire them are so used to this free labor provided by their employees they will fight tooth and nail right along with the shipper/receiver to keep things as they are, instead of sticking them with a detention bill.

    The idea of lumpers from way back when you had a bill of sale for the perishable product are long gone. We have Bills Of Lading now, none of that stuff belongs to me, why do I have to pay to unload the product ordered by someone else and that belongs to them?

    Whether or not it can fit on their racking system is none of my concern, I don’t work for the warehouse, I don’t give a crap how it’s stacked, it’s my job to bring the correct product in good condition, correct count…and that is it.

    Lumpers are a scam, a tax fraud, and nothing but grocery warehouses dumping their responsibilities onto a third party.

    Since the FMCSA has already stated that shippers and receivers are outside the scope of their regulatory umbrella, maybe the Derpt. of Labor needs to look into how truckers are forced to work FOR FREE.

    The IRS should also be interested in unpaid labor, as that is tax revenue they are missing out on, and most definitely not legal.

    They have ruled against other businesses that forced employees to work for free or off the clock to pay back taxes on their employees, why not trucking companies who expect you to work, but don’t pay?

  • Fed up

    How about the Broker (TQL) that refuses to bill Walmart, etc for excessive unloading because the OO or Drivers aren’t worth them losing the customers (Walmart) I just quit hauling for Shippers who won’t address Detention Time on confirmation. That doesn’t leave with many Shippers that will load our Trucks so we suffer and try to make due with what we can do

  • Lisa Dale Niblett

    My family hauled produce from the mid 70’s through 2003. Never was paid detention while waiting on lettuce or cantaloupes to cool .. but hurry up and be in Seattle in 20 hours .. Lumpers are another sore spot .. We’d always get a call when my mom would deliver in San Francisco Mkt. where they charge you a market fee also to park on a public street ..

  • safetygirl

    Only $$ talk in a capitalistic society. Greed may be bad but socialism breeds laziness and unaccountability. We live in an imperfect world. If companies dont have to pay they dont have to change the way they do things. Its just figuring out how to make them pay without letting uncle sam do the rulemaking. He always screws both sides in favor of himself over time.

  • Debbie MacLeod

    So maybe we need to hire a Lobbiest to represent us in Washington. The airlines are now charged a fine for sitting on the Tarmac at the airport. Our case sitting at the yard waiting to get to the dock is somewhat different but the same. We are at the mercy of some dock worker that will get around to you when they damn well please.

  • BJK

    Any time spent on line 4 of log the driver should be compensated for. What other profession do you punch the clock and then not get paid for your time on duty? Pay us like any other job time a decent wage then time and a half over 40 hours and then see how much time you spend at a dock. Per mile pay is fine for driving, but on duty not driving has to be a paid status and the s/r should be billed for it. No free time unless it is off duty or sleeper berth. Why are we exempt for the fair wage act?

  • Mike Nighthawk Bender Jr.

    Even at minimum wage, there are more weeks then not where I would have taken home MORE if I was getting paid by the hour, with no overtime, in a 60-70 hour on duty week.

  • Mike Nighthawk Bender Jr.

    All drivers should be paid hourly, end of story. If this is the case, all drivers would be able to, and even be more encouraged to, run legal. From the minute I go on line 4, until the minute I go onto line 1 or 2, I am getting paid. Overtime exemptions would probably be written into law just like they are for many other industries, and I would even be fine with that.

    And YES! Get rid of the lumpers. ALL OF THEM. It will save a ton for owner operators who could really use the break. And even though the big companies can theoretically afford this, think of what they could do with all the money they would save if they didn’t have to pay for it! Plus, with most companies the driver is going to have to pay for it upfront and later get reimbursed. Let’s just save a step and make things more efficient. Point well said, why should the transporter have to pay the company who is taking the stuff they just bought to get it off the truck? I have seem lumpers as little as $20.00 and as much as $500.00 for general goods. RIP OFF.

  • Joe Ammons

    Mandatory hourly wage that equals the hourly gain by driver while in transit, If he averages 21,00 hr while driving he gets 21 an hour at a dock, Drop the FLSA exemption

  • His & Hers Transport

    I must ask, why are you ok with giving them ANY time for free? Time spent not driving while still being responsible for the equipment should be compensated at ALL times!

  • peterbiltangel

    By possibly having the government use its muscle and create large fines to be paid by the shippers or receivers for their lack of effort to quickly get the drivers loaded or unloaded. I think if they were paying say 1000 or 2000 a pop for loading or unloading delays there would definitely be some improvements made to be more efficient

  • Zachary Bell

    Although broad collection of detention pay would certainly help, I think ALL OF THE ABOVE would be the best strategy.

    By the way, there should be logging of detention time in an electronic manner by the shipper and receiver as well as the driver, any load or unload that takes more than 1 hour will go on the shipper’s or receiver’s permanent record along with a very stiff fine of $20,000 to the company and $2,750 to the employee. 2 or 3 violations will force the ENTIRE COMPANY out of business.

    If they choose to use a cell phone while working, whether it be for texting, talking or putting stuff on social media, there should be a $30,000 fine to the company and a $10,000 fine to the load/unload guy along with mandatory jail time.

    Haller, I think your estimate for the fines is too low. Companies can easily afford $10,000. $30,000 would hit them harder where it counts.

  • Zachary Bell

    I fully agree, but some have taken it too far. Sweeping the trash out of the trailer only takes 5-10 minutes, some want to charge for that. But for detention and fueling, inspections, and breakdowns, I would like to see a pay system for that otherwise uncompensated on-duty time.

  • holiday

    goverment should regulated rate per mille that would save all problem in the industry and tell the compagny to figure there order in advance so with more money oo will stay longuer the compagny will keep the experience driver that cost them money instead of showing them the door for new driver with no experience and nobody to teach them because they prefer sheep labor to experience

  • Brian

    I am a big supporter of not getting the government involved in any more things in our lives, but this is one area that someone should be held accountable. It’s up to truckers to haul it in a timely manner, and it’s up to shippers and receivers to do their job in a timely manner.

    But you know, if people would stop hauling for places that take too long to load or unload, and tell them why, I think that’s all it would take.

  • Dave

    Carriers pay me for my time. Its their job to collect from the customer,not mine. And, the government stay the hell out of it. If you decided in a lab when my bedtime is. I don’t need you making any decisions on my pay. Government already has enough power over my pay. Another good way. Don’t call for a truck until you need it. If a truck is loading or unloading more than 2hrs. You didn’t need your freight or didn’t need my truck. But, for 25yrs i’ve had to deal with it.

  • Cory Davidson

    I agree. $130 detention for even a 2 hour delay doesn’t cut it when you’ve now missed your next appointment and are held over a whole damn day. The hope would be that if detention is federally mandated, and they’re getting hit with the fees for every truck, that it would inspire them to evaluate their inefficient loading/unloading procedures.
    We know it CAN BE done faster. Case in point– Costco used to be a nightmare place to go into. Hours of checking into the gate and waiting in line in the office, and waiting again for your signed bills. Now they’re one of my favorite places to go. The guard shack takes your bills, you back in with a beeper. When it goes off, drive back to the guard and out without even knowing what the inside of that place looks like!
    I don’t know what prompted them to change, but Kudos to them for figuring it out!

  • Cory Davidson

    That’s a great idea! To incorporate an industry-wide on-duty rate for drivers. A pre-determined, federally standardized and regulated wage rate added at trip completion. An open ended box on a broker rate confirmation, and company driver trip sheet alike.

  • Cory Davidson

    To incorporate an industry-wide on-duty rate for drivers. A pre-determined, federally standardized and regulated wage rate added at trip completion. An open ended box on a broker rate confirmation, and company driver trip sheet alike.
    We [drivers] already have a regulated and official log of this time every day, right there in black and white! If that document is acceptable evidence at an accident, it should be good enough to determine pay, whether it is electronic
    or pen and paper.
    This would help solve company drivers complaints of all un-paid on-duty time. It would also allow trucking companies and brokers to alter their rates with their slow-moving customers.

  • Trucker Tuck

    Brokers, shippers and whoever else down the line will always fuck us over on detention. You’ll get some here and there if you bitch enough. the government will not get involved because big business tells them what to do. I have a little black book i keep and when i go somewhere to load/unload and it takes hours..i simply write it in the book. When i get my paperwork, i ask then if they’d like to take a picture of my truck. When they ask why, i tell them that is the only way they will ever see it again…..

  • Bluebird

    The delay payment terms must in the contract. If the company paying the freight bill isn’t bound by that then they won’t pay. The entity that actually pays the delay charges is who you need to talk to. Only they can put pressure on the shippers and receivers. Basically you need standardized terms that make sense and agreement on an hourly rate for the truck to sit. Leverage would be HOS and further missed appointments down the line.

  • smitty


  • RedJewel52

    There will never be an easy fix. Shippers/receivers will ban trucks from being on their property until driver or dispatcher is called and load is ready. Then it is up to trucker to find parking outside the gates until pickup time is confirmed.

  • bigmotor10

    You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. There are fewer union facilitiess than non union. In the south there are hardly any union employees at all, but there are some terrible places to get loaded or unloaded.

  • Tom AndSheila Hurd

    I pay my drivers a percentage of gross, I plan my loads and rates to account for measured delays and hold ups and pay wait time in excess of that. I have drop trailers at locations that typically take too long to load also. just because a driver has to wait 2 hours doesn’t mean the driver isn’t getting paid for that. My guys on average make upwards to 20+ an hour so when they complain about having to wait somewhere for an hour I don’t stress much about it till it gets excessive.

  • Dave Nichols

    As an owner/op for close to 40 years, perhaps the day has come when the internet will provide the solution. The shippers or receivers who do not process you in a timely manner could earn a “feedback” and those of you who see the feedback on them that indicates poor service should just say sorry, not going there.
    Maybe our friends at OOIDA can put this together and make it happen. The fact that any shipper or receiver cannot get goods in or out will solve this in a hurry.
    There are good examples of the feedback system in action today. Ebay and Angie’s list come to mind.
    A person can ‘google’ most any business and see ‘reviews’ as well on that business.
    How about it OOIDA?

  • Angela Rinaker

    Yes the shipper or receiver holding a truck more than 2 hours should be accountable for detention pay. Companies or carriers should not have to pay their drivers based on another companies fallacies. Owner operators should be able to set their rate for their time detained NOT THE BROKER SHIPPER OR RECEIVER!!! Companies and company drivers should set forth in their Rules what they charge for any accessorial fees such as detention . A carrier should not be charged for lumpers to haul a load from one location to the next without a way to be unloaded is ridiculous!! Why should a driver hauling a load for publix from their facility in Houston be charged to get unloaded in Phoenix?? That’s what these companies do or you unload yourself with their equipment and therefore are a liability risk!! Put it in writing or it doesn’t exist!!

  • Angela Rinaker

    Current predicament: Load out of Raleigh NC deliver by 2 am Memphis Tn.
    Picked up Friday afternoon to deliver by 2 am Saturday morning.
    Arrive on time at shipper detained 2 hours loading. Drive through to be on time at receiver. Arrive at receiver by 1 am Saturday check in told drop trailer and leave. Check in by 8 am Saturday trailer not empty check back at 6 pm. 6 pm check on Saturday not unloaded yet no one knows anything can’t tell you where your trailer is. Check back Sunday morning no one knows anything can’t tell you where your trailer is, finally get answer not unloaded yet check back by 6 pm nope not done yet. Get motel Sunday night check in at 8 am driving back to facility NOPE NOT UNLOADED YET CHECK BACK AT 1 PM NOPE NOT UNLOADED YET CHECK BACK AT 5 PM!!! SO YOU TELL ME WHO IS IN THE WRONG THE DRIVER OR CARRIER OR THE BIG ASS FEDEX COMPANY IN MEMPHIS WHO CANT UNLOAD A 53′ DRY VAN IN 3 DAYS? STILL WAITING ON MY TRAILER!! OH 150.0 A DAY LAYOVER AINT CUTTING THE 2 RUNS IVE LOST FOR 3000.00 BECAUSE MY TRAILERS HIJACKED BY FEDEX!!!
    SO WHAT ABOUT DETENTION PAY AGAIN?? OVER 48 HOURS OF LOST TIME AND MONEY!! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.