[White Paper] Fear and Loathing in Las Trailer Pools: FreightWaves Research into Drop Trailer Detention Rates

Tony MulveyFreight Market Blog, White Papers

FreightWaves recently completed a survey of truckload carriers that utilize trailer pools. The goal was to determine the frequency, free time and costs associated with trailer detention. For large fleets, drop trailer pools are a capital intensive yet pragmatic solution to their customers’ internal supply chain constraints. The primary constraints for the motor carrier are time related, and drop trailer pools represent an attractive solution for both the shipper and carrier, which can load or pick up the trailer as their schedule permits. 

Challenges arise when the timely loading and unloading of trailers at the designated trailer pools do not occur. Whether it  be related to labor constraints or pandemic supply chain disruptions, a common challenge for carriers is getting their equipment utilized, and trailers being used for storage at a customer location are unprofitable and unable to haul additional loads. A way carriers attempt to overcome this problem is through the use of trailer detention charges. The goal is to encourage the shipper or consignee to utilize the equipment on hand, either by unloading the trailer to be used for a follow-on load, or by loading an empty trailer for a tendered load shipment. 

The survey hopes to provide carriers, brokers and shippers a better understanding of the characteristics of trailer detention charges. Possible use cases include carriers attempting to benchmark trailer detention rates, brokers attempting to price drop trailer lanes, or shippers hoping to understand the variation in trailer rates and behavior based on carrier characteristics.