Insights & News

Trucking Detention Time is Making Your Supply Chain Inefficient. Here’s What You Can do to Make Up Lost Money.

Posted On September 18, 2019

Trucking detention—the time drivers spending waiting to load or unload their trailers—is costing shippers big money.

Really big money.

In fact, detention is costing shippers as much as one billion dollars.

(Imagine Dr. Evil from Austin Powers saying “one billion dollars” before letting loose his evil laugh, and it will give you some sense of how big the detention problem really is.)

Recent research from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that wait times at docks are creating safety issues as truckers push themselves to make up for lost time—but the impact of detention isn’t just limited to truckers.

Excessive detention times can impact the bottom line of shippers across the country.

Detention times significantly impact a large percentage of drivers. ATRI’s survey of 1,000 truckers found that nearly 40% of drivers reported that up to 100% of their loads experienced delays resulting from customer decisions.

Unfortunately, there was more bad news.

While wait times of under two hours had decreased since the survey was last conducted in 2014, wait times of two hours or more have increased during the five years since the last survey.

Excessive wait times do not just impact truckers subject to Hours of Service Rules. Time spent waiting at the dock often results in excessive detention charges, to say nothing of the inefficiencies and lost money created by delays.

Yet, despite the impact, the report concluded many shippers do not seem aware of the impact detention has—and in some instances, may purposefully create wait times to ensure additional truck capacity for outbound shipments.

Intentionally creating additional truck capacity can be a valid reason for detention.

However, excessive detention times are often the result of inefficiencies within a shipper’s supply chain and/or a shipping department with limited capacity. While the hourly charges mentioned above may seem minimal, they do add up—and more important, they can be an indicator of a supply chain that is not operating as efficiently or effectively as it could be.

In a competitive market, any unnecessary inefficiency can be the difference between dominating an industry and being the last part of a sentence that begins with, “Hey, whatever happened to (fill in your name)?”

Fortunately, Flat World Supply Chain and the Flat World Holdings family of companies can help you craft a supply chain built on a foundation of excellence. We are not “just” the providers of the industry’s best transportation management system (TMS), ultra-responsive freight forwarding, or the market’s sturdiest custom crates.

Our team of supply chain, logistics, and transportation management experts will help spot inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement throughout your entire supply chain and squeeze every possible efficiency and every dollar from your logistics program.

If the strategy at your dock involves using detention to create additional capacity, that is understandable—but if long detention times at your docks are the result of inefficiencies and a lack of capacity in your supply chain or shipping department, our team of experts would be proud to partner with your transportation managers to help change that.

Starting today.