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Report: More than 80 percent of carriers say detention time ‘a very serious problem’ for their operation

DSC_0123A recent survey by DAT Solutions found that nearly 63 percent of commercial truck drivers spend more than three hours detained at shippers and receivers’ facilities each time they pick up or deliver a load.

Of the 247 carriers surveyed, 54 percent reported typical detention times of three to four hours, while 9 percent said they wait more than five hours at docks. Both carriers and brokers agreed that detention time begins after two hours parked at a dock loading or unloading.

Additionally, more than half of the carriers surveyed considered detention time to be “a very serious problem” for their operations, and 84 percent of the 247 carriers said detention is one of the top five biggest problems they face. The survey was also conducted with 50 brokers, and only about 20 percent said detention was a top five problem for them.

DOT begins audit looking into detention time at shippers, receivers

DOT begins audit looking into detention time at shippers, receivers

The DOT has initiated an audit to look into the effects on the trucking industry of detention time at shippers and receivers.

DAT also found that only 3 percent of responding carriers said they were able to collect detention fees on at least 90 percent of their claims, at a rate of $30 to $50 an hour. Brokers said they were twice as likely to pay detention fees when the fees were paid by the shippers. Two-thirds of brokers surveyed said they paid detention only when they could collect the fee from the shipper or consignee, while the other one-third of brokers paid detention whenever carriers complained.

Many carriers that took the survey also said they either couldn’t meet other delivery requirements, ran out of hours before picking up another load or had to turn down other loads because of detention time.

The full survey can be seen here.

The Department of Transportation began an audit in June to look into detention time at shippers and receivers to “report on the impact of loading and unloading delays in areas such as the economy and efficiency of the transportation system.”


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Matt Cole is an Associate Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at