Portland OR – Nearly 63 percent of drivers spend more than three hours at a shipper’s dock waiting to get loaded and unloaded, according to a recent survey by DAT Solutions. Of the 257 carriers surveyed, 54 percent reported typical detention times of three to four hours, while nine percent said that it was common to be detained five or more hours.
Detention is one of the top five business problems facing carriers, according to 84 percent of the survey respondents. By contrast, among the 50 freight brokers who responded to the survey, only 20 percent agreed that detention was one of their top five problems, while 78 percent said that other problems had a bigger impact on their business.
Both brokers and carriers defined detention as holding a driver and truck at the dock for more than two hours while loading or unloading. Most of the carriers surveyed are seldom paid for detention, and when payment is offered, it does not cover the full business cost that results from the delay.
Only three percent of carriers were paid on 90 percent or more of their detention claims, at a rate between $30 and $50 per hour, according to survey respondents. Even when the claims were paid, however, that compensation did not cover the opportunity costs to their business. Carriers were often forced to turn down other loads while their trucks were detained and unavailable. One owner-operator reported losing two loads, with combined revenue of $1,900, because his truck was detained too long at a receiver’s dock.
“Driver detention is an urgent issue that must be addressed by our industry,” cautioned Don Thornton, Senior VP at DAT Solutions. “It’s a matter of fairness,” he said. “Many shippers and receivers are lax about their dock operations, but it’s the carriers and drivers who are forced to pay for that inefficiency.”
Freight brokers who were reimbursed by their shipper customers were twice as likely to compensate carriers for detention. Two-thirds of brokers surveyed said they paid detention only when they could collect the fee from the shipper or consignee, while the other one-third of brokers paid detention whenever carriers complained.