Excessive dwell time (the total time a driver spends at a facility to deliver or pick up a load) is costly for both carriers and shippers. One effective solution is drop trailers.

One of the largest costs associated with dwell time is detention. Most shippers and receivers have a two-hour time window to load or unload a truck, and any time spent beyond the allotted two hours is detention. Detention costs for-hire truck drivers an estimated $1.1 to $1.3 billion per year, and results in nearly 80% of carriers losing one or more load opportunity per month (OOIDA). For shippers, it means average detention fees of $50 per extra hour, and strained relationships with carriers—sometimes resulting in permanently lost capacity.

In addition to detention, dwell time keeps drivers from maximizing their HOS (Hours of Service), which is costly for both carriers and shippers. Delays not only reduce the number of hours drivers are legally permitted to drive before stopping for a rest break, they also take capacity off the road. For the average long-haul shipment, one hour of dwell time is roughly equivalent to 50 miles of distance traveled. Carriers are growing more particular about the quality of the facility at which they pick up or deliver loads. Shippers that focus on reducing dwell time attract the best carriers, optimize throughput at facilities, and achieve higher customer satisfaction.

Drop Trailers Benefit Both Carriers and Shippers

Drop trailer services allow carriers and shippers to work together to achieve their mutual goals. Drivers, trying to adhere to hours of service laws, want to spend less time waiting and more time driving. Shippers, wanting to improve customer service, are looking to streamline the flow of inbound and outbound goods and improve on-time performance across the board.

Benefits for shippers:

  • Ability to load trailers at their own convenience
  • Reduction in accessorial charges for driver detention
  • Pick and pack optimization: product flows through warehouse more efficiently
  • Improved on-time performance
  • Reduction in late appointment fines

Benefits for carriers:

  • Reclaimed planning power: more flexibility in scheduling trailer pickups
  • No more waiting to pick up a load
  • More consistent business
  • Better financial forecasting
  • Improved livelihood for driver pool
  • Improved on-time performance

Drop & Hook Services

Shippers can take drop trailer programs one step further with drop and hook services. With a traditional drop trailer program, a driver will bring their tractor to the distribution center and pick up a loaded trailer. A drop and hook service boosts efficiency even more by creating a trailer pool at both shipping and receiving points. A driver scheduled to pick up a loaded trailer will arrive with an empty trailer. They will pick up the loaded trailer and leave the empty one behind. This cyclical process ensures that there are always readily available trailers to be loaded, making the entire shipping process more convenient and further streamlining the supply chain.

When to Consider a Drop Trailer Program

Drop trailer programs are a good option for shippers that:

  • Ship Consistent Volume. Drop trailers are most cost effective when you have at least two shipments per week on a regular basis.
  • Struggle with Excessive Load/Unload Times. If long loading and unloading times are costing you in penalties and high rates, degrading your relationships with carriers, using drop trailers could help you eliminate fees and become a shipper of choice.
  • Need More Space on Docks. Moving freight and the drop trailer to another spot in the yard opens up valuable space on congested docks to create efficiencies in your warehouse.
  • Want Greater Flexibility. Tight delivery windows can burden shippers. Loading and unloading freight when it works best for your team can make scheduling easier and less costly for everyone.
  • Have Enough Space. To make drop trailers a viable solution, shippers need yard space to accommodate extra trailers, as well as room for carriers to move them in and out efficiently.

Access Capstone’s Drop Trailer-Ready Network

An effective drop trailer program can streamline your supply chain, reduce detention costs, improve on-time performance, and help you improve relationships with carriers and customers. As a freight broker, we excel at drop trailer programming. With nearly 20 percent of our overall volume being drop trailer, our network can provide a wide variety of solutions and help you achieve a 30% reduction in detention spend.