Can Freight Brokers Help Reduce Driver Detention?

When a shipper or receiver detains a truck, it can ruin a driver's work week. The freight broker is rarely involved, but often the broker is the carrier's only point of contact.

Recent blog posts about the DAT survey on driver detention have yielded lots of comments, including sad stories, but also recommendations for brokers as well as carriers.

Bottom line: When carriers and brokers work together effectively, they can help reduce excess detention and its impact.

motor carrier detention
The graph above shows responses from 257 carriers surveyed

Communication is Key

Many comments emphasized the importance of communication. Reader Bob Farrell noted that both the carrier and broker need to communicate more:

Carriers should know the ‘game rules’ in advance and notify the broker when they: 1) have arrived. 2) have been placed to the dock. 3) are approaching the end of the free time (i.e., at 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.).

Likewise, Farrell says that the broker needs to notify the customer that the time window is closing. Another commenter, Chris, pointed out:

If you speak with your broker, they can help most of the time. They just don’t want to have the conflict and potential loss of income. Drivers think load by load, brokers think about overall volume from the customer.

Need for Documentation

When detention does occur, having the proper documentation is critical. Catherine Mallery, a 3PL, says:

We have a standard detention policy that outlines free time, rates per hour, and necessary actions/documents to qualify for detention. Each customer has their own policy and we have to manage all these expectations to try and recover detention.

Many carriers, however, complained that getting detention pay is nearly impossible, even with proper documentation. Mitch writes:

What about the broker who tells you they can’t pay detention without the in and out times being stamped on the bill of lading, and the dock worker tells the driver they do not stamp bills with in and out times?

Julie, who identified herself as a former owner-operator and now a broker, said this about detention pay:

We tried putting it in our contracts, but now shippers don’t want to sign our contract. They want us to sign theirs, which of course doesn’t include detention.

More on Driver Detention

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Do you have other suggestions on how to reduce excess detention? Please comment below.

Categories: Best Practices and Benchmarks

Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.



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