Handling the inevitable situation at the docks: What some truckers are saying
The hours-of-service issue is one of the most persistent and hard to solve of all the problems in trucking. But truckers are pretty consistent in saying that difficulties at the docks are the source of the vast majority of the problem.
And the big question then is, How do we solve it?
Let’s say we don’t have a fix concocted or managed by federal regulators. That leaves the problem where it’s always been – with the truckers.
I’ve talked to several truckers – including one who called in recently – who simply tell the folks at the dock that they have so much time left on their log, and if they don’t get loaded on time, they’ll have to sit there – taking up valuable dock space with a truck that won’t move for 10 hours.
Those truckers who did call about this idea say it has worked for them. And I don’t doubt that. However, I’m not sure it can be applied universally.
During the first Run Compliant Month, we had a trucker at a grocery warehouse in the South. He told them pretty much what the same message: If you take too long to load me, I’ll be out of hours and unable to move under federal regulation.
Despite that, they took nearly 12 hours to load him. And then, when they were done, he told them he was out of hours, and that under federal regulations, he could not move the truck.
Their response was to call the local law and threaten him with arrest for trespassing.
Now, I’m sure you’re all thinking, that sounds ridiculous. But it is a true story.
So here’s the upshot of all this: Truckers should communicate that message, they should do it consistently, and they should be firm but professional in their approach.
I’m not trying to throw cold water on the thinking of those truckers who operate this way. In fact, I admire the gutsiness. But in the interest of full disclosure, people should keep in mind something I’m sure they all already know: Not everyone on a loading dock acts in a logical manner, and you can face a consequence for standing up for yourself.
No matter what course you choose to take, that needs to figure into the thinking of anyone facing this situation.
By Mark H. Reddig