With the latest hours of service regulations, carriers try to optimize their route time and are as efficient as possible. Drivers often waste time at facilities or other destinations waiting for the freight to be loaded or unloaded. In some cases, this may take up to a few hours and is certainly not an efficient use of time. Shippers and carriers seek ways to reduce the waste time and increase productivity, and one of the ways to do so is a drop trailer program.

What is the drop trailer? drop trailer

To put it simply, drop trailer is when a driver leaves your trailer at the facility for a period of time until another vehicle picks it up. The trailer can be already filled with cargo and be left at the intermediate facility or can be delivered empty to a shipper’s warehouse or distribution center. This method gives shippers more independence since they can load trailers on their own.

What are the benefits of drop trailer?

Using a program can be beneficial for both shippers and carriers. Here are some key advantages to consider a drop trailer program:

For shippers:

  • Opportunity to load the trailer at their own convenience
  • No overpaying for the time drivers stay with your freight
  • If the freight is delivered to your facility, you’re able to re-pack it accordingly
  • A smoother, efficient supply chain

For carriers:

  • HOS regulations compliance
  • Drivers don’t waste time waiting for loading and unloading
  • More consistent and sufficient routes

Do you need the drop trailer program?

Drop trailer program is a good way to reshape your supply chain and can certainly offer many benefits to carriers. However, it is not suitable for every shipment. Depending on the freight type, trailer, destination, and time limits, the use, and benefits of this program can differ.

The program is NOT the best decision for you if:

  • Your shipment is time-sensitive. Sometimes, the trailer can stay at the facility for a few days, and if you have some tight shipping deadlines, it’s better to avoid drop trailer carriers.
  • You ship perishable goods. Perishables can’t stand delays, which sometimes may occur when using the scheme.
  • You don’t want to constantly stay in touch with the carrier. If you’re not partnering with a reliable 3PL, you will most likely have to deal with carriers a lot to ensure shipping runs properly.

After all, a drop trailer program can be a smart solution considering the hours of service regulations. Make sure to define whether you really need this method for your specific shipping needs.