Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

Decrease Truckload Costs by Cutting Dwell Times

truckload-ratesJust how long are you making drivers wait to load and unload? Like it or not, loading and unloading time eats into a truckload driver’s hours of service. So it should be no surprise that dwell time is one of the leading variables that could affect your truckload rates.

Research indicates that after two hours of drivers waiting, you can expect truckload rates to increase accordingly. Moreover, the cost of dwell time at the origin is added to the dwell time cost at the destination.

If your current dwell times are costing you money, here are seven ways to reduce your truckload driver wait times:

  1. Leverage live loads. Live loading provides the flexibility to deal with fluctuations in demand. Designate a dock door (or a percent of time for multiple doors) for live load activity or combined drop trailer/live load freight.
  2. Pre-stage freight on shipping dock. Stage freight on the dock so carriers can get in and out fast.
  3. Offer appointments. Put an appointment or notification scheduling process in place to maximize the use of dock doors and people to increase efficiency. Stay close to designated load/unload times.
  4. Palletize freight. Palletized freight can be loaded and unloaded faster than loose pieces.
  5. Maintain adequate dock staff. A cascading effect occurs on dwell time when dock staff is insufficient to handle scheduled appointments.
  6. Provide a good map or directions to the dock door. Prevent delays, especially at larger facilities.
  7. Use drop trailers. Easily the best solution in high-volume facilities. Shippers load/unload on their timing. The carrier arrives, hooks up the trailer, and goes.

For more information about reducing dwell time, read our white paper, Do “Favored Shippers” Really Receive Better Pricing and Service? and our previous blog post on this topic.

Editor’s note: This post originally ran on Transportfolio. Since it’s a relevant topic for Connect readers, we wanted to share it with you here.

- Director, Research and Market Intelligence, C.H. Robinson
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