Driver detention is when a driver’s route is delayed at either the origin pick up, or the destination delivery location for more than the agreed upon free time. In most freight transports, the driver has 2 hours at the time of pick up and 2 hours upon delivery free of any cost. The drivers have their documents time stamped when they arrive to validate the time that will be charged.
The purpose of detention charges is to compensate the driver and or carrier when they are held up. In most detention time trucking cases, the driver is set back and not loaded in a timely manner and a snowball effect takes place. Examples are as follows:
- The driver runs out of legal driving hours and cannot transport the goods from origin to destination timely.
- The driver may not be able to reach the destination if there is an appointment due to hours of service rules. This causes added detention if the driver cannot meet his next appointment and is told to wait to get unloaded.
- The driver may miss his next pick up and lose his next load if he is not unloaded promptly as the next shipper may use another carrier to move the load.
As you can see, when trucks are not loaded timely, or unloaded timely, it does affect everyone down the line. The cost for detention charges vary based on the company, the equipment, and the geography. Rates range from $50 to $100 per hour.
The best ways to avoid detention and keep your costs down are:
1. Ensure the goods are ready for loading prior to scheduling the truck.
2. Advise the warehouse that the truck must be loaded within a given timeline such as 2 hours or less.
3. Space out the appointments so that you have time to unload the truck.
4. Add warehouse staff to be able to unload the truck promptly. ($75 an hour detention adds up quickly so it is cheaper to add more labor to load – unload the truck then to pay detention).
5. Keep in mind that when you hold up the truck, you’re delaying your delivery as well. This may cost your company future sales if items get delivered late consistently.
6. Ensure you have forklifts (the proper equipment in good working order) to unload the truck promptly.
7. Stagger your warehouse labor so people can unload through lunch. (Remember this avoids detention, and saves both shippers and receivers money.)