I wrote recently about the current study of carriers and brokers in DAT Solutions’ load board network concerning detention. I also briefly discussed getting to ride with flatbed chauffeur Jeremy Johnson, leased to Blair Logistics of Birmingham, Ala., and experiencing with him hours of ridiculous detention. It’s the too-common truth for Johnson and a number of you.
He ranks long detentions as the most significant problem with his job: “No accountability on shippers and receivers.”
Johnson discusses detention, how he’s dealt with at Blair and the effectiveness gains from using a Fastrak curtainside trailer system he’s placed on his 1999 Reitnouer flatbed.
The day I rode with him, we had arrived up at a plant on time at 9:30 a.m. to drop a steel coil. After some discussion at the getting desk, Johnson found out that a Blair driver who had actually arrived previously was given Johnson’s costs of lading number, wrongly presuming some prior mistake. Johnson found the chauffeur still in the lot, waiting to deliver. They compared notes, validated the issue, but there was no fixing the issue at this moment.
“So now you get your phone out, take a nap, discover something to occupy your time,” Johnson stated. “I just sit here and wait till they get it all sorted out at my expense.”
He took the chance for napping in the bunk of his 2000 Peterbilt 379, his first truck, powered by a 3406E Caterpillar. He woke at 11:45 and went to the getting desk, discovering he lagged 5 trucks.
The Power of The Curtainside Trailer
Johnson rolled back his curtainside trailer and reversed many of the harness straps so he ‘d be all set for a fast unload after backing in. He’s a big fan of his curtainside trailer financial investment, noting it safeguards straps and other equipment from early wear, and conserves hours weekly that would’ve been invested tarping or getting rid of a tarp.
It was 3 p.m. prior to he unloaded. He received no detention pay.
Blair Safety Director Jeff Loggins says that the majority of Blair’s contracts with detention pay start after 2 to 4 hours, however even then, payment is frequently slow or unsure. Unless Blair makes money, the owner-operator gets nothing.
Johnson is one of Blair’s best motorists, serving on Blair’s Safety Council, Loggins says. “He does not damage freight,” he states. “I do not think he has any CSA points.”
He’s proactive, too, such as when he sees other Blair motorists loading. “If he sees them doing it not the method we teach it or by DOT requirements, he’ll increase and aim to speak with them about it.”
Like any owner-operator, Johnson, 35, doesn’t like the way excessive and unpredictable dock delays keeps him far from his household in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Ideally, he states he ‘d like to get a more dedicated route that permits more home time.
Even with the periodic extreme detention, Johnson says he’s been able to make $80,000 to $100,000 in some current years, however much less in the soft freight market of 2015. Much of his trucker good friends do not make almost as much, however he’s found out “a lot depends upon just how much effort you put into it.”
What Is A Curtainside Trailer?
A Curtainside Trailer is essentially a flatbed with an upper structure mounted to the flatbed as a tarping system.
There are two types of curtainside trailers, the Conestoga and the Tautliner. Both trailers are of the flatbed range and both are covered with a tarp system or drape which can easily be vacated the way, consequently providing ready access to the trailer for filling cargo. The advantages and disadvantages are gone over below.
Conestoga curtainside trailers make use of a sliding tarp system. In concept, this system works extremely comparable to an accordion. When pulled forward, the tarp exposes the flatbed supplying gain access to for side, rear and overhead loading. The primary drawback of the Conestoga curtainside in comparison to a Tautliner curtainside trailer, is that the drape structure makes the trailer as much as 107″ wide on the outside and permits a maximum of 102″ clearance for the trailers cargo. The Conestoga curtainside trailer requires a strict adherence to the 102″ restriction of its freight. If the product is at or near 102″ wide and is lost or occurs to move slightly in transit, the system can not be opened or closed.
The Tautliner curtainside is a flatbed trailer consisting of a front, a roof and rear doors, similar to a van, yet having side curtains that move like a shower drape. The Tautliner curtainside’s main downside when weighed versus the Conestoga is in the limiting factor regarding the capability to fill its freight from overhead. The structure of the moving drapes restrict overhead loading of the cargo. However, the Tautliner trailer has much more versatility in hauling products greater than 102 inches because it allows space for mistake in packing its freight.