If you’ve been in the game of dry van hauling, chances are you’ve been asked to “drop and park”.  This is where a shipper/receiver tells you back into a door, unhook, bobtail to a specific location (usually off property), then wait for a phone call to come back and get it once it’s finished.  What happens though when you come back to pick up your finished trailer and it has some “unexpected new graphics”?  

This played out for one of my drivers recently. For the first time I got a call that while at a shipper being loaded in a “drop and park” scenario, the trailer that backed in next to it had scraped down the side in several noticeably large locations.  Never having dealt with this before, I instructed the driver to hang tight and began to try and get a hold of the broker.  With no answers to my calls, I sent an email to the broker to make sure I at least had a documented effort to get them involved.  

My next step after no response from the broker on that load was to involve the shipper.  I knew it could go one of two ways and luckily for me this time it went smooth.  I was able to forward pictures of the damage to my trailer and the one who allegedly backed into it, opened a clear line of communication, then awaited word from them.  Around 30 minutes later they explained they had taken reports from both drivers and collected information from both for a report on the issue.  Since the alleged culprit denied doing it and my driver was not hooked up and on-site to watch it happen, the customer agreed to review security camera footage and add it to their report findings.  

Just as dashcam footage can be used to exonerate drivers, it was also able to prove the wrongdoing in this circumstance.  It even proved where the dirty handprints on our trailer came from when the driver was examining the scrapes he had just made!  With the pictures of the damage on both trailers lining up perfectly to the damage inflicted, plus camera footage from the time of the event, I was glad to have got the shipper involved.  Usually, you don’t want to contact the shipper yourself, unless like in this instance you receive no word back within a reasonable timeframe.  It turns out for me it was the right thing to do because the broker had already gone home for the day when this occurred and I would’ve been waiting quite a while.  The most important lessons learned from this little incident were to remain calm, get the facts to the necessary parties immediately, and be as polite as possible because it’s not only an inconvenience to you, but to the shipper/receiver as well.

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Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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