Rising Detention Times and the Cost of Not Protecting “Shipper of Choice” Status

Sadly, it seems some shippers may have forgotten an important truth about effective carrier relations. ATRI reports detention times have crept up in 2019 following the historic and painful capacity crunch of 2018 during which, shippers pursued “Shipper of Choice” status with their carriers by focusing on ways to make carriers’ lives easier (like reducing detention/dwell time).  The shortsightedness of shippers who stopped making these efforts results in costly liabilities when lean times return.  But smart shippers use their TMS solution to protect trusted carrier partners during the slow times, so they can be relied on to deliver during periods of peak capacity.  Here’s how.

First, recognize that being your carriers’ shipper of choice when it matters (read: when truckload capacity is tightest) begins with being shipper of choice when there isn’t a pressing need to show carriers the love.  If you want carrier partners to be there for you when the going gets tough, you have to demonstrate your dedication to protecting their valuable time, regardless of market conditions.

Despite some shippers’ efforts to be more responsive to carriers’ needs during last year’s capacity crunch, overall, both the length and frequency of detention have increased over the last four years according to a September 4th report published by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The ATRI analysis, based on more than 1,900 driver and motor carrier surveys revealed that “delays of two or more hours increased 11.2% between 2014 and 2018”.  Worse, delays of six or more hours have risen an ugly 27.4%!  Reefer shipments (which are so important to the food shippers that make up roughly half of all UltraShipTMS customers) were identified by ATRI as the type of load spending the most time in detention; often being detained for far longer than the “acceptable” 2-hour tolerance.

So, what can a shipper do to guard against unnecessary detention time and protect their relationships with their critical carrier partners?

Shippers committed to reducing detention time and protecting carrier relationships must utilize their TMS to:

Does your current TMS solution deliver the ability to collaborate with your preferred carriers and work to protect their bottom line as well as your own?  If not, you should demo UltraShipTMS and see how it is done.