Readers Sound Off on Detention

We recently posted a reader poll with a couple questions about detention times. We wanted to know how often your trucks are detained for more than two hours, and how often you're able to collect a detention fee when it happens.

The responses have been great, and the issue is obviously still a top concern for truckers. We'll post the results from the poll later this week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of the comments from the thread. Most of them fell into one of three categories: Costs, regulations, and advice.

Detention Fees Don't Cover Costs

We were delayed at a shipper for 3 hours AFTER the 1.5 hour loading time, waiting for paperwork. The craziest part was the shipper whited out our arrival time on our bills and told my driver they didn't want to get hit with detention costs. The result was a snowball effect. My driver ran out of hours for that day, and by the time he got his hours reset, he was late for the delivery. The receiver held us there for 6 hours, and we did not make the next pickup ... My driver could have fudged his logbook and made it but I don't run that kind of operation. Unfortunately it cost us a lot of money. Truckitman

 

Grocery warehouses are the worst … I have a small trucking co. and our policy is $35 after 2 hours. They ignore that policy, and if we get paid anything, it is nowhere close to compensation for the time lost and loads lost. M Young

 

Just yesterday we lost over $1800 in connecting loads that we had to pull out of because of being detained at a receiver. The brokers don’t tell you that when a load is FCFS (First Come, First Serve), they do not have to pay detention, so they can hold you as long as they want. Nora Betts

 

We've actually been paid detention by the broker through Landstar, only to have it deducted out of our check six months later. The claim being that the customer never paid the detention. How's that fair? We were detained and paid. Why does the carrier have to give back the money that they owed us for the time that the customer wasted in the first place? Greg Wentworth

 

Who Should Regulate Detention Time?

The FMCSA mandates the driver’s work hours, but did nothing about the shippers or receivers. And they could care less about the driver’s clock. Most places tell you to go fly a kite. They don't pay detention time. Maybe the FMCSA is ruling the wrong group. txtrucker

 

Australia's law regarding detention time should be implemented in the USA transportation sector, and everything will get better for everybody when shippers or receivers get fined for holding trucks for more than 2 hrs. Daniel Toma

 

FMCSA regulates drivers and carriers with very unfair rules but does nothing to the shippers and receivers. They are a big contributor to many accidents and violations drivers endure by putting undue pressure on the drivers to make up for lost time. FMCSA needs to pass a regulation that fines shippers and receivers. The regulation should force them to pay $150 dollars per hour over two hours. John Wayne

 

Government regulation is not the answer. Let everyone know up front that you are not waiting over 2 hrs. I frequently pull off loads if they can't get me loaded in 2 hours. If you call for a truck, you better be ready to load it. I would encourage others to do the same. Dale Newkirk

 

What's the Best Way to Avoid Detention?

Seldom does a shipper or receiver want to sign a trucker’s in and out times, but we can also document the arrival and departure time with other methods. There may be one good thing about e-logs after all. Greg Wentworth

 

When you hit the dock, time starts. When talking to the dock workers, tell them how well they are working. Let them know that they are an important asset to their company. It might surprise you! bubba

 

We almost always get detention, unless we are late or the driver makes a mistake and doesn’t get the In/Out times. However, we fight hard and get pretty aggressive, saying we charge 50/hr after the first two hours being free. We are notifying the broker after about 1 to 1.5 hours, so they are aware and have the opportunity to prod the shipper/receiver along. As far as FCFS, we love it, and still get detention anyway. Just log your In/Out times. No appt necessary. Marc

 

With the looming ELD requirements, shippers and receivers are going to have to rethink the amount of time they hold a carrier at the dock. This is going to have a huge effect on OTD of freight. The "just in time" days will be over if the shipper/consignee cannot get it together and load in a more timely way. Kelly

 

 

How are detention times affecting your business? Let us know in the comments?



Don Thornton

Don Thornton is DAT Solutions' Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development. He has more than 30 years experience in transportation technology and sales. Before joining DAT in 2001, Don served as vice president of business development and technology at Market Transport in Portland, Oregon. He has also worked in sales and operations for large companies including Lockheed Martin, IBM and Wynd Communications.

Don earned his MBA at Pepperdine University in California and completed his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at California State University, Chico. For more than a decade Don has served on the Board of Directors for the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).



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