Dealing with the Detention Dilemma

A recent survey finds that the problem of detention, and detention reimbursement, is one of the top five challenges carriers face.

Last year, at just about this point in time, I posted a blog about the need to tackle the problem of detention. A recent ccj article on the issue shows that, as the old adage says, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

The article discusses a DAT Solutions survey that found that more than 80 percent of carriers still feel that detention is one of the top five business problems their operation faces. Interestingly, only 20 percent of brokers surveyed felt the same. The average time that drivers spend detained at shippers’ and receivers’ facilities for pickup or delivery, according to the survey, exceeds three hours. The normal detention accessorial is $30 to $40 per hour after two hours detention. For carriers and operators, detention reimbursement may become a point of contention with shippers and consignees.

Since the problem of detention isn’t going to go away, all of the parties involved: shippers, carriers/operators, and consignees need to have frank, open discussions with one another as to the best way of dealing with this potentially contentious issue.

One possibility might be to create spot agreements where, in cases of extreme (and sometimes repeated) detention, the driver can drop off the load for the yard to unload and pick up another load for delivery. This is not always workable as a driver often has the responsibility of making sure the delivery actually is unloaded and makes it into the facility. Another issue would be that many facilities don’t have the manpower to do this without the driver’s involvement.

Another possibility would be to increase driver pay upfront with the understanding of the effect of detention and increase the time at which detention kicks in to four hours instead of two. Since detention is such an issue with drivers, and since we face such a troubling shortage of them, this solution could be one to consider. As I said in my earlier blog, “drivers sitting at a location for hours at a time lose revenue, patience, and most of all, productivity.

It’s clear that no one answer may be the right one for every customer or carrier; but being open and honest about the problem is absolutely essential to ensure trust, transparency and ongoing positive relationships. The fact is that detention is lost time for everyone involved; reducing detention positively affects the bottom line for all parties.             

Victoria Kresge

About Victoria Kresge

Victoria Kresge is Vice President of Dedicated Services for NationaLease, and is responsible for growing the organization’s Dedicated Services business, both with new prospects and existing customers. Krege’s experience includes serving as Director of Dedicated Sales for C. R. England and managing and growing the tri-state NY, NJ, and PA sales markets for Roadway Express.

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