Bad Communication Means Lots of Waiting

Here’s one of those typical stories that needs to be told about trucking and the industry I work in.

I delivered my latest load on the evening of April 25th. It was a typical delivery and things went very well. I checked-in on time at the security gate, parked my truck and checked-in at the office with my paperwork. They asked me to wait in my truck and they would call me when they have a door ready for me to back into. It did not take long! They unloaded the trailer and I had my signed manifest in a matter of about an hour. It was great!

The delivery was in the evening, so I knew that my dispatcher would not be able to find my next load until the next morning. So, I drove to a place I knew I could stay at for a while and parked over night.

The next morning, my dispatcher found a load for me about 2 hours north of me, near Albany, NY. The only problem with the load is that it would not load until 9:30pm that night. I really didn’t mind too much because sometimes you don’t get enough of a break to get some decent rest. I thought I would take advantage of the extra time and rest.

Later that same afternoon, I was told that the shipper was having problems getting the loads out and would have to push the pickup to the next day. Again, more “sitting” time. Well, it was getting close to my 34 hours, so, again, I took advantage of the situation and got my full 34 hour reset in and that gave me a new 70 hours to work.

Here comes the problem with the industry. After arriving at the shipper’s destination, I checked-in and they said to park and they’d call me when they were ready. I counted 8 trucks already waiting. I was told by the broker who setup this load that the shipper wanted to get the loads out by noon. Well, I sat another 8 hours before getting my load and heading out. Over a 48 hour period, I worked only 2 hours. Why, because nobody would tell the appropriate people how many trucks would be waiting or how long the preparing of the product would actually take. They just guessed at how long things might take. With all of that said, this industry compounds the problem by not having good communications procedures. Too many people to communicate with and so it takes too long for the information to get down to the drivers level or back up the chain to the people who need to know, so we (the drivers) wait!

I think the worst part of this problem is that there is no way for the truck driver to correct or improve the situation. We just have to live with it.

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