All we all want is to get loaded and unloaded in a timely manner.

I read Jeff Clark’s blog titled “A Case for Mandatory Detention Time.” Let me start off by saying that I agree with many of Jeff’s comments on the issue of being compensated for our lost time. As a driver and owner of my own company for many years, I can tell you that I’ve experienced everything he has mentioned in his post.

It is my thoughts that drivers should be compensated for our time lost at the dock. It’s very frustrating sitting for hours waiting to load/unload when the shipper/consignee is not prepared when you arrive. The stress comes in when you’re on a time schedule and required to be here or there by a certain time. Let’s face it… there are only 24 hours in a day and as drivers we are required to be finished 14 hours from the time we begin our day on duty. For many of us, that doesn’t leave much time for “sitting/waiting.” Our time gets away quickly and should be accounted for as detaining us means lost profits for our business.

I must disagree with Jeff on one point in regards to government mandated detention pay. For example: Let’s say I accept a shipment and the shipper will pay me $10,000 to transport this load 5 miles down the road. This particular (specialized) load requires lots of time to disassemble and reassemble onto the trailer. I realize this load will take time to complete and the miles aren’t really a factor into the equation. How would someone determine the rate of detention fee for this load?

Over the years, I’ve worked with shippers/consignee’s that I knew would hold me up when I arrived to load/unload. In such cases, I pre negotiated the rate accordingly or had the customer agree to a detention charge. Have I always been successful in such circumstances? I can tell you the answer is… NO. However, I chose to leave these customers and no longer be a carrier of their freight. Not every business decision is a profitable one.

I, like every driver want compensated for all my time. I look at this issue in much the same manner as when fuel prices increased rapidly. Due to market forces, carriers quickly added fuel surcharges to their rates. This makes me think about the much hated electronic logging device. Could this device shift the market forces to finally put a value on a driver’s time? Electronic logs would make it impossible for drivers to make up lost time at the dock from weather, traffic jams and anything else that would detain the driver.

Could mandatory detention time actually be making the case for electronic logging devices?

Comments (10)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Carriers should take advantage of load boards to rate brokers on issues like detention pay or someone should make a website to review practices of Shippers and receivers similar to the ones brokers use to rate carriers

July 24, 2015 20:05:50 PM

Interesting point Joey made about HAZmat. As a Canadian driver, we are required to possess a FAST (Free And Secure Trade) card to haul Hazmat in the US. It's a $80 fee to apply and it includes an interview with a Homeland Security agent after fingerprinting and a full background check is done. One would think that with the extra hassle that we would receive better compensation, but like Joey stated, rates stayed the same. Furthermore, to add insult to injury, my company would hold FAST approved drivers for the hazmat loads that seemed to load later in the day which would result in us arriving back at our Canadian terminals later than the non-approved guys that may have initially unloaded later but still were able to beat the hazmat loads, placing us lower on the power board. Lately some of us are refusing to haul hazmat until this is resolved.

July 20, 2014 13:30:46 PM

Mark, Henry and I were talking about your comment and the ELD is not what held you up. After being held up at the dock for 6 hours in order to get that $10,000 dollar load you would have to have doctored the books. If no one can run illegal look how many more $10,000 loads will be available.

May 26, 2014 7:37:05 AM

I've had all the same problems. Waiting for hours to get either loaded or unloaded at a shipper or consignee. Yes we should be compensated for our time, but electronic logs are not going to make these people do their job any faster because it doesn't effect them. If you mandated compensation, you would likely get the minimum wage. That's something, but not enough. If I lose a $10,000 load because this guy keeps me in his dock for 6 hours and you give me $100, how is that a fair compensation? No ELD's are not going to help

May 25, 2014 7:32:03 AM

An Economist's fall back phrase, is all else being equal. When the Haz Mat requirement was enacted the economy, and freight rates, were going in the wrong direction. If Haz mat rates remained stable, that was better than the rest of the economy.

I doubt that we will see a mass exodus from the industry. That story has been told before, and never came to pass. The few that will leave, will be the ones that will have left shortly anyway. The larger change in supply will be from drivers who find that an ELD does not provide " extra" hours.

May 23, 2014 1:34:01 AM

To Joe's point, I know what you mean. I hauled haz-mat only for 12 years and after 9-11, they raised the standards on us and required us to get finger printed and background checks. I assumed this would make me more valuable since some drivers would be disqualified from being haz-mat certified and the driver pool would be thinned out, but boy was I wrong. Freight rates didn't budge.

May 22, 2014 15:04:08 PM


May 22, 2014 8:46:13 AM

I don't think that detention time is making the case for ELD's instead of the other way around. Whenever the mandate for ELD's hits I think there are going to be a lot of drivers calling that date their first day of retirement. Coupled with fewer American's viewing a career of driving a truck as acceptable, I don’t doubt that abusive shippers and receivers will eventually see the “Mother of all rate increases.”

About the only caution I tell myself about my belief in the inevitability of rate increases/detention pay requirements with mandatory ELD’s is many of us have had those type of expectations in the past related to new requirements. Rates were going to properly adjust when we went to 80K, to 48’ trailers and then 53’ -102’s, when chauffeurs licenses were replaced with CDL’s, drug and alcohol testing, reduced HOS from the latest round of changes, here in California many think banning certain trucks will eventually increase rates…none of these hopes for increased rates EVER happened.

May 21, 2014 15:25:34 PM

Just so everyone knows, Henry and I have debated this subject for years. We debate a lot of different things. Henry and Linda make some good points. Henry loves that example of the $10,000 load. It would not be difficult to portion that load out between dock time and miles. My biggest concern is that shipper/receiver that habitually abuses drivers and steals their time. Yes, absolutely I will never go back there. The problem is that there is enough drivers and companies to provide that shipper with enough trucks and companies to use a different one everyday for eternity. Everyday another driver gets robbed and that shipper never pays a dime.

May 21, 2014 5:08:07 AM

One size does not fit all and when the government tries to make one size fit all it does not work.

Mandatory Detention reminds me of arresting the prostitute and not the person who uses her profession.

The drug user on the street and not the person supplying or growing the drugs.

Law enforcement does go after the source but often it is the low hanging fruit that gets the fine and jail time. The companies have allowed the shippers to control their trucks schedule and it is them that has to put a stop to it. The companies that send trucks to these locations are the ones that need to demand detention time, refuse to go to these shippers, and no matter what their decision they need to pay the driver the time sitting at the dock. I feel as if we are putting the blame on the wrong entity, it is not the shippers and receivers it is our companies that have created this monster by allowing this procedure. We as customers would never go to a place where we were treated like this.

Another example is a doctor's office. If I make an appointment to see a doctor and he does not value my time and I have to sit to long I either walk out of the office or I never go back. If I continue to allow a doctor to treat me this way then shame on me.

With our company after two hours a call is placed and the customer is informed of how much it will cost them to detain us. Some customer’s choice to pay detention others we are immediately loaded.

Like Henry who has his own authority, he knows what his time is worth and the customer either pays him for his time or he does not go back. Companies need to act like Albert Transport and there would not be a problem.

In the end the EOBR being mandated will solve the problem instead of companies stepping up to the plate and saying our trucks time is worth something.

Very good blog Henry and Jeff's was as well. Both sides of the story discussed.

May 21, 2014 4:08:47 AM