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Is it time for you to consider a drop trailer or drop and hook freight service for your business?

Capacity crunch and driver shortage has caused serious issues in many businesses’ supply chains and has increased the demand for drop trailer / drop and hook shipping programs.

What is a drop trailer program?

A drop trailer program is when a carrier brings a tractor to the loading dock and picks up a trailer loaded previously. Drop-and-hook takes the process of trailer shipping one step further. A carrier will arrive with an empty trailer to drop, pick up a loaded trailer, and continue on.

In the US, many shippers are now considering such programs mainly because of the new hours of service rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which are more strictly monitored by the ELD mandate.

Drop trailer services can also have a significant impact on the efficiency of your supply chain. Drop trailer programs help shippers and carriers plan more effectively for deliveries and outbound shipments as it’s important for them to align their schedules.

Without drop trailers, a carrier must arrive within a narrow time window to load or unload the trailer. Depending on how the appointment coordinates with their on-duty schedule, and considering other conditions such as traffic, weather, breakdowns or unexpected events, the driver may be forced to wait for hours, thus missing the appointment altogether.

In these situations, detention fees, late delivery fees, and a negative vendor scorecard are unpleasant results.

Drop Trailer Benefits for Carriers:

  • Better trailer planning. You decide when you pick up and drop off.
  • No more waiting to pick up a load or be live-loaded.
  • Great for time-consuming loads, like floor-loaded freight.
  • Higher delivery percentages that are on time.

Drop Trailer Benefits for Shippers:

  • A smoother supply chain operation. You can load or unload a trailer at your convenience or when staffing levels are adequate; no more paying overtime to load or unload when a truck is early or late.
  • Superior for time-consuming loads.
  • Avoid extra driver or truck detention charges.
  • Higher on-time delivery percentages.
  • Decrease fines from strict retail Must Arrive By Date (MABD) requirements.
  • Better retailer relationships with vendor scorecard performance.

On the downside, there may be an initial cost to implement a program. Every trailer that a carrier takes out of over-the-road service is lost revenue, so to recoup it, there will be a cost for a drop trailer. Of course, this cost will pay for itself because there should never be any detention fees.

Drop trailers should not become warehouses; the maximum time a trailer should sit is a week. In most drop trailer programs, trailers turn two or three times a week.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of up-front heavy lifting to implement a drop trailer program. Not all carriers supply a drop trailer service therefor finding one that does can be time-consuming. Trailers make carriers money, if one of your carriers doesn’t want to drop a trailer, simply look at using a different one.