If there is one thing LTL and TL carriers alike hate with a passion, it is waiting. The old adage of "time is money" holds true, and waiting at a customer's site is a big cost for carriers. Both LTL and TL carriers commonly provide the customer with a set amount of "free time", or time allotted to perform pickup and delivery. Their base freight charges include this free time. If a customer delays the carrier beyond this free time during a pickup and/or a delivery, Detention charges can be assessed.
From the carrier's point of view, the extra time the driver is delayed is time the driver is not generating revenue. Further, the delays can prevent the driver from performing subsequent pickups and deliveries. This is of particular concern with current Hours of Service regulations and the widespread adoption of ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices). So if you as a customer have wondered why your carrier might have been late for a pickup or delivery or, worst case, failed to make the pickup or delivery, it could be that a prior customer caused a delay.
Carriers across both the TL and LTL spectrum are increasing their application rates of detention charges. This is being driven by need, as the application of a charge is a proven mechanism to influence and change customer behavior. It is also being driven by technology. Through the use of ELDs and handheld devices, carriers have the means to readily identify and assess detention situations.
Reducing or eliminating detention at your facility is an excellent way to maintain "Shipper of Choice" status with carriers. So how do customers protect themselves from Detention? Here are several things to consider:
When detention occurs, carriers deserve to be compensated. Understand that they are not using detention charges as a revenue stream, but rather as that means of influencing and changing customer behavior. It is a tool that works. They would gladly trade the detention charges for no actual detention.With the strained supply chain we are all dealing with these days, the tight capacity and driver shortages, focusing on detention will be much appreciated by your carrier partners.