Truck drivers have always been on the clock in their job. While everyone punches a time clock or stays beholden to a cold, numerical authority in some way, few have it tougher than truckers.
This is especially true because of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate of late 2017. Truckers are now unable to fudge logbooks the way paper logs once made possible – now when they’re stuck in congestion, the clock is still ticking and there’s no way to get that time back.
Hours of service simply won’t allow a trucker to stay on the road for too long without rest. But a big delay can leave drivers on the road, or in the bay, and unable to get the miles they need for a decent check at the end of the pay period.
The ELD mandate has caused a lot of uproar among truckers, and it’s also lit a fire under shippers. They have been clear about the companies they work with – time is more precious now than ever, so delays during loading/unloading simply can’t be tolerated anymore.
Sure, every industry and even every chain may have its slower areas, either due to poor policies or too much congestion. Yet, if one industry had to be recognized for causing truckers the most headaches in terms of delays, who would it be?
A recent survey from Zipline Logistics may offer the answer. Employees for over 150 trucking companies across the nation were accessed about the facilities they have the most problems with. One type of store kept getting mentioned over and over – grocery stores.
Specific names include Kroger, Walmart, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and Safeway. A DAT Solutions survey noted that being detained at docks for over three hours was a regular occurrence. Even worse, only three percent of drivers said they received pay from shipping companies for the wait.
Andrew Lynch, the co-founder of Zipline, was quick to admit the company mostly works with grocery stores and retailers. This could explain why the survey results seemed overwhelmingly concise in their determination. But there are also other factors to consider, including the way freight is packaged and broken down in grocery stores.
For example, a shipment of cereal may have a dozen different flavors of the same kind – with variants of each like sugar-free being included to form even more categories. This also makes for even more work in the separation of things. And when crews try to sort and break down everything while the truck is still in the bay, it adds to the time that driver has to spend at this location.
Trucking is at a point where drivers are in short supply. The last thing the industry wants to do is alienate drivers by allowing long wait-times to stand. Current measures to change things include making delays and hours-of-service rules a part of an upcoming protest effort.
Receivers should be speedy – especially at grocery stores. Truckers may not stick around much longer if things don’t change.