The Trend of Increased Loading Times at Shipping Locations

Posted on October 21, 2019

As the level of available domestic freight increased drastically in 2018, as did the market for trucks and truck drivers. Many factors in the supply chain industry were affected by this spike, including lane rates, available trucks, accessorial charge rates, and loading times at shipping locations. The increased loading times at shipping locations is a trend that has become more common even prior to 2018 but became increasingly scrutinized during the year’s increased market.

The increase loading times at shipping locations has been causing numerous problems for the trucking and supply chain industries over the past few years. The average time a truck is expected to dwell at a shipping location is in the range of 1-2 hours. However, between 2014 and 2018, wait times of 6 hours or more have increased by 27.4%. One of the major problems this is causing for the supply chain industry is a lack of available trucks due to so many being held up, waiting to be loaded with freight. This has led to clients paying increased linehaul rates to accommodate the demand for trucks.

The trucking companies are the entities that arguably face the harshest effects of these increased dwell times. Typically, a truck driver is paid per mile. To compensate for the lack of mileage due to the increased dwell times, truck companies will charge hourly detention fees. However, this doesn’t always make up for the increased dwell times. Smaller fleets often waive the fees as a way of staying competitive with larger fleets, customers refuse to pay the increased fees, and trucks end up missing their next critical pickups/deliveries due to the delays. A 2018 study by the Department of Transportation indicated detention has costed the trucking industry around one billion dollars in lost revenue annually.

Along with the increased demand for trucks in 2018, the industry also was significantly affected by the Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service requirements. While a truck is being detained at a shipper site, their electronic logs are often still counting this time. The larger delays can often consume much of a truck driver’s available hours of service and cause them to have to shut down in order to reset their hours. This has also led to a large increase in missed pickups and deliveries, as well as a loss in revenue for the trucking industry and the supply chain industry. Truck drivers trying to makeup for lost time at shippers site will also try to drive over the speed limit or change routes. A study from the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General showed that a 15-minute increase in dwell time can raise the expected truck crash rate by 6.2%.

Other than the increased levels of freight over the years, there are various reasons leading to the increased dwell times. As the volume of freight has increased over the years, many facilities have not counteracted this with increased staff, docks, or hours of operation. Furthermore, shippers are often not held accountable by their customers when they cause drivers to be delayed. Some potential solutions to help reduce dwell times include having shippers increase the number of available loading docks and staff, strategically reorganizing their ship-out times, and having the FMCSA creating mandates to keep shippers constantly aware of delays being caused and holding them more accountable for these delays.

Contributor: Jonathan Eisner 


About Allyn International 

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China, Prague, Czech Republic, and Dubai, U.A.E. For more information, visit