“Detention is Killing Us” Say Carriers

By: Classadrivers.com

By Pat Pitz Marketing DAT Solutions

Detention is killing us.

That pretty much sums up how carriers feel about driver detention as related in a recent DAT survey of 257 carriers and 50 freight brokers. Of the carriers surveyed 84% said detention is one of the top five problems affecting their business. By contrast only 24% of the freight brokers agreed that detention was one of their top five problems.

While brokers may feel that detention is out of their control — after all the problem lies with the shipper or receiver — carriers clearly see the broker as the customer. And when the economy picks up and capacity becomes tight carriers will remember how brokers treated them during these challenging times.

Detention leads to loss of loads 



See the complete results of DAT’s survey about driver detention.

Many carriers reported that they were compensated for only a fraction of their detention time and their comments made it clear that those fees were not sufficient. Carriers often miss out on their next load when trucks are detained. One owner-operator reported losing two loads with combined revenue of $1900 because his truck was detained at a receiver’s dock.

A driver wrote: I do not want to spend my time fighting for a few dollars of detention pay. My company loses 1-2 working days in a 10-day period due to unreliable unloading times.

Another trucker observed that detention has grown worse as capacity has loosened up. Remember the winter of 2014? he asked. There was almost no detention or detention was paid right away. Why? Because freight was much greater than carrier capacity.

Brokers and carriers view issue differently

The DAT survey also revealed a lack of communication between carriers and brokers. For example when carriers were asked how often they were detained over the course of the year the most common answer was 31-40%. When brokers were asked how often their carriers reported being detained the most popular answer was 1-10%.

Brokers and carriers also had conflicting views on compensation. When carriers were asked how much they received for detention time more than half (54%) said they were paid less than $30 per hour. When brokers were asked about the standard hourly detention rate only 16% said they paid less than $30 per hour.

Federal government studying detention

Driver detention is an urgent issue that must be addressed by our industry. It’s a matter of fairness said Don Thornton Senior VP at DAT Solutions. 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.

Thornton urged brokers and 3PLs to examine their business practices in order to address detention issues. If not the government could step in and impose a solution on the industry.

In fact the Department of Transportation announced last month that it is collecting data on the effects of detention. During Congressional hearings on the most recent Highway Bill regulators noted that detention causes travel delays and lost wages and it can lead to unsafe driving practices as truckers make up for lost time by speeding or operating past their on-duty limits.

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Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post on www.DAT.com. It was first published in July 2016

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