An independent trucker’s view on the detention problem.

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In a recent article in Overdrive by Todd Dills that can be found here, I read where Anne Ferro will try and use the “bully pulpit” (her words) of her office as the FMCSA Administrator to influence shippers/receivers to stop delaying trucks.  Even though she admittedly has no authority to do so, I guess she wants the trucking industry to know that “big brother” is looking out for us.  The article goes on to say that some lawmakers have tried to introduce legislation to regulate and mandate detention pay for our industry to no avail as of yet.

I understand that dock delays are a real problem within our industry as shippers/receivers have no concern about our hours of service (HOS) and the more profitable  driving hours that we’re losing sitting at their facilities.  However,having the federal government regulating every little inadequacy is not a solution.  Excessive regulation degrades the entrepreneurial spirit and climate that has made it possible for a guy like me, (one truck and one trailer) to compete on the big stage with all of the large trucking companies out there.   The end result of excessive regulation is that all carriers will be mediocre.

The free market will solve the problem.  If you’re suffering with detention currently, it’s because you or your carrier hasn’t dealt with the problemand they are allowing their trucks to be delayed.  Take for example, Marten Transport, who is leading the industry in taking on detention. The following has been taken from a recent press release that can be found here.

“Beginning in June, Marten drivers will receive automatic detention pay on all loads after just one hour. In order to receive this additional pay, drivers must follow the company’s detention policy, which includes arriving on time for pick up or delivery; sending the appropriate macros; and the arrival and release times documented on the paperwork.  If drivers are not loaded or unloaded within an hour, their detention pay begins automatically. The hourly rate for hour 1-2 will be $10 per hour, paid in 15-minute increments. The second hour of wait time and on will be paid the normal automatic detention rate of $20 per hour. Marten plans to increase the first hour rate in September by at least $2 and will eventually bring the pay up to $20 per hour to match the rest of the automatic detention pay.”

Marten Transport also parted ways with some of their customers who weren’t on board with the implementation of the detention pay.  However, most of their customers were in agreement and plan to cooperate fully according to a radio interview I recently heard.  This is a great example of the free market taking care of a problem without “Big Brother” getting involved and messing up a lot of other things along the way. 

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