What is a Drop Trailer Program?


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 waste time and increase productivity, and one of the ways to do so is a drop trailer program.

What is the drop trailer?

A drop trailer is a simple process where a driver leaves your trailer at the facility for a period 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 independently.

What Are the Benefits of A Drop Trailer?

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

Benefits For Shippers

  • Opportunity to load the trailer at their own convenience. This allows for a smooth and convenient process when loading and unloading goods. Shippers working at their convenience also enable them to work manageable hours.
  • No overpaying for the time drivers stay with your freight. Any overpaying that comes with a drop trailer gets delivered to the drivers, not your shipment.
  • If the freight arrives at your facility, you can re-pack it accordingly. You can pack it in the way you see fit for your cargo and have everything the way you like before sending it off again.
  • A smoother, efficient supply chain. A drop trailer allows you to have control over the process. Having your own authority means being as efficient as possible with your freight and shipping.

Benefits For Carriers

  • Helps drivers to comply with HOS regulations. These regulations are the maximum amount of time drivers can be on duty. Regulations include driving times and the number and length of rest periods, so drivers are safe on the road.
  • Drivers don’t waste time waiting for loading and unloading. This relates to working at your own convenience so you can do everything on your own time. Also, the drop trailer is parked right where you need to load and unload your items quickly.
  • Gives carriers more consistent and sufficient routes. When you control your drop trailer process, you’ll choose the best roads for your freight and get it to its destination efficiently.

Avoiding The Fees of The Drop Trailer

You can incur charges when using the drop trailer method for delays or layovers. However, there are always ways to avoid these fines and streamline your shipping and supply chain process.

Layover Fee

A layover fee is distributed when you leave your trailer overnight with an unprepared shipper. Even though the drop trailer is leaving your trailer at a facility, it can cause inconveniences along the way when a stay period is unexpected. The charge for this varies, usually starting at $250 and can go all the way up to $500.

A layover fee can easily be avoided by making sure your trailer is at the right place at the right time. If your stay is expected and you have everything planned out, then you are good to go and shouldn’t receive a layover fee.

Detention Fee

To receive a detention fee, you would have to arrive with an unready shipment that will take longer than two hours to get ready. When a trailer has been held for too long that’s not ready, detention fees will start to come in. A detention fee also goes by the hour, starting at $50 and going to about $75.

You can avoid a detention fee by always having your shipment prepared when arriving at a facility. There is a chance of loss of revenue for companies that own the trailer, so make sure you don’t get involved with disrupting your sales and supply chain.

Do you need the drop trailer program?

A drop trailer program is an excellent 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 stay in touch with the carrier constantly. If you’re not partnering with a reliable 3PL, you will likely have to deal with carriers a lot to ensure shipping runs appropriately.

After all, a drop trailer program can be an intelligent solution considering the hours of service regulations. Define whether you need this method for your specific shipping needs.

Drop Trailers With PLS

Are you looking for a freight carrier? Contact us today to see what we offer and how we can assist you with your freight. ‍We want to make the process as efficient as we can for you! Get a free quote with us if you’re looking for a drop trailer service.

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