What Is a Drop Trailer?


Row of white semi truck trailers on a clear blue sky to demonstrate drop trailersIn today’s world, customers expect timely deliveries of their orders without excuses from carriers and shippers. Hence, it is becoming mandatory for shipping companies to perfect efficiency and minimize dwell time. One of the most effective ways for shippers and carriers to restructure their supply chain is by utilizing the drop trailer program.

The intent is to bridge the gap between the truck driver shortage and hours of service restrictions. As a result, it helps ensure the driver is always on time and prevents unnecessary driver downtime. But what exactly is a drop trailer? Read on to find out.

What Is A Drop Trailer?

Drop trailer is when a truck driver leaves the trailer at the facility, warehouse, or at a specific location for some period until another driver picks it up at a later time. Essentially, the trailer is left at the location due to a large volume of shipments being managed in that area. The trailer is often full of cargo and left at the facility, or delivered empty and later shipped to the shipper’s distribution center or warehouse.

A drop trailer program is a shipment and transport method where a driver brings a trailer to a warehouse and leaves it there. Another driver will hook up the trailer to their truck and continue the trip without wasting time and maintaining headway. Sometimes, the driver can transport the trailer to another facility, where it is hooked up by a new driver. Drivers who leave trailers at specific locations will head to the warehouse and hook another trailer for transport.

What Are the Benefits of a Drop Trailer?

Shippers and carriers can benefit significantly from using the drop trailer program. Typically, the program is designed to improve the efficiency of shipping and transportation, as well as reduce drivers’ workload and costs. That said, here are the key benefits of a drop trailer:

Better Service Levels

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to drive for a maximum of 11 hours per day. However, drivers have to be on schedule and this can affect their next shipment or appointment, especially when detained. A drop trailer prevents such events experienced by drivers, giving them an alternative location to drop or pick up trailers. This streamlines shipping, promotes accurate timing, and fosters fast shipping.

Convenience and Flexibility

The FMCSA introduced the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate that monitors house of service for carriers and their drivers strictly. The intent is to ensure proper time management on the road and loading facilities to prevent delays and detention in warehouses. This is because delays and detentions impact the revenue per truck, including service delivery.

A drop and hood program allows shipping companies to provide smooth, flexible, and convenient shipping for their drivers. Besides, there exists seamless loading and unloading of goods that reduces wait time and ultimately prevents delays.

Possible Low Shipping Costs

A drop trailer offers multiple ways for a shipping company to cut down on shipping costs. First, warehouses tend to cut down most or all detention and demurrage charges. Shippers often include a must-arrived-date for each shipment, and a drop trailer can cut down on fines associated with late arrivals of shipments. A carrier can also achieve precise pricing commitment through a defined loading and unloading schedule and a standard volume of the shipment.

Does Your Shipping Company Need the Drop Trailer Program?

A drop trailer program is ideal if you need to restructure your supply chain. It offers several benefits to shippers, although it does not apply to every shipment. Based on the trailer, time limits, freight type, and destination, the benefits and the use of a drop trailer program can vary.

When Not to Use A Drop Trailer

  • Shipping perishable goods: Since a drop trailer involves certain delays when waiting for another driver to hook the trailer, it is difficult to ship perishable goods.
  • Shipping time-sensitive goods: Some trailers may carry goods that must be delivered within a tight deadline. This makes it hard to involve them in a drop trailer program.
  • When you do not want to work with carriers: In this case, a drop trailer can become impossible to use.

At Veltri, we understand the value of a drop trailer and how it can benefit a shipping company. We can help you learn more and understand the importance of the program. Talk with an expert here at Veltri to learn more today!

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