What Constitutes A 'lousy Load' In Freight Hauling?

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Todd Holmes's Comment
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I think most drivers would favor drop and hook over live loads.

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Of course they would. Unfortunately there's times and reasons why we can't always have our preferences. Maybe that will help you understand the reference to a load as "lousy."

Flatbed drivers seldom see drop and hooks, much like tanker yankers. Trucking is as varied as it's many customers are.

I would think certain kinds of companies and customers do drop and hook on a regular basis.

Probably couriers as UPS and FedEx maybe?

The idea of intermodal freight transport sounds super high speed.

I always thought railroad piggy-back service was cool too.

Plop on containers, pull off containers, plop on containers and roll!

Yes, my endeavor might be to someday work for the most "streamlined" company I can find. Yes, my first company might not be so slick, smart and clever as I dream. I would think the best companies in this business are the ones who hire the most ex-drivers in all the various administrative positions. I think managers, dispatchers, load planners, executives and presidents who are seasoned drivers themselves understand the business and "see things" from the "driver's point of view" and can best empathize with the drivers and knows what best benefits them. I'm almost done with Brett's Raw Truth and his book seems to make this obvious to me.

The one with the most roll time and the least wait time.

"Streamlined" (smart, efficient, high speed/low drag) companies have all their stuff wired tight and all bases covered at all times: customer accounts, truck stop accounts, repair shop accounts, regular routes well planned and established down to a fine science. More consistent schedules. This idea of a driver's having to telephone a customer and ask for driving directions to avoid possible low bridges seems shoddy to me as a way of operating.

Such companies also probably deal with the same customers on a consistent basis and the operation whole SOP becomes etched in stone.

Yes, Old School, please go ahead and tell me that is wishful thinking on my part and it probably is.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

PlanB's Comment
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To me a lousy load is one that I am forced to spend way more time on then I feel necessary, preventing me from moving on and competing more loads.

For example my current load I am less than thrilled about.

Deadheading 1247 dispatched miles didn't bother me.

But...

The meat load im waiting on has a very wide pickup window and may not be ready until Thursday morning. I've been waiting since early Tuesday. Detention is not paid until the shipper has held me 2hrs past the appointment window. By then I'll already have been sitting for 2 days.

Once it's finally ready the delivery is 1339 dispatched miles, and delivers Saturday afternoon.

Spending 5 days on 2586 dispatched miles is great while solo, but I'm training someone right now and as a team would normaly complete 4k+ miles in that time.

My normal dispatcher never has me sitting around this long. But he is off and I'm not familiar with the dispatcher who assigned me this. Plus it's right after Christmas/New Years so you have all these driver's coming back on the road from their time off coinciding with customers cutting back on production/shipping after Christmas.

Trucking is just like the highways we use. It's got it's up and downs, you just gotta roll with them.

On the plus side we both easily got 34s! (Not that we needed them yet, but silver lining and all that...)

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rainy 's Comment
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Drop and hook is not always possible. Some companies do not have the room to store the trailers and some receivers are so small they get only a few pallets at a time. Meat plants want the meat to be as fresh as possbile so some do not slaughter the animals until you check in. Meats are almost always a drop and hook but that doesnt mean they are loaded for you already. Often you drop your empty and wait for your load to be ready in another trailer. Some shippers may fill trailers so quickly they never have enough to make all loads drop and hook. Another problem is drivers only want to pick up good trailers so they leave empty ones that need repair and never fix them. Then the company needs to make special arrangements for repairs.

Beer is another that is drop and hook on pick up at major breweries but can have multiple stops at small places with little room. And i get drop pay too but it isnt as much as i could drive in that time, so i would rather be driving.

When dealing with food time is of the essence. Some customers only unload meats at midnight, frozen at 0700 and perishables at noon for example. Meat and produce are almost never drop and hook at receivers because the product is destroyed if the receiver "loses" the trailer on their yard. That only takes one person entering the wrong trailer into the computer. Been there done that. I went to Walmart and security refusee to let me in cause the computer said the trailer was currently on the lot. Turned into a big hassle.

Trucking is much more complex than most people think. There is no way I could say I do mostly drop and hook. I have kept the same trailer for up to 2 weeks. Maybe 50/50, i dont know. i never really kept track, but even if it is a drop on one end, a drop on both ends is more rare. However, to run a dry load which would be a drop at both ends I simply turn off the reefer.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Like Rainy said, not all customers can store trailers. We have some customers that are drop and hook at the DC and live unload at the delivery. Then we have one retail store we deliver to that we bring a loaded to and pick up the empty. Since the loaded goes in the door where the empty is, it's a drop/hook, drop/hook, drop/hook. Sometimes at a huge DC it could take close to an hour to find your trailer. When you're new backing and drop/hook takes longer. I'll take a live load most days.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Todd Holmes's Comment
member avatar

Drop and hook is not always possible. Some companies do not have the room to store the trailers and some receivers are so small they get only a few pallets at a time. Meat plants want the meat to be as fresh as possbile so some do not slaughter the animals until you check in. Meats are almost always a drop and hook but that doesnt mean they are loaded for you already. Often you drop your empty and wait for your load to be ready in another trailer. Some shippers may fill trailers so quickly they never have enough to make all loads drop and hook. Another problem is drivers only want to pick up good trailers so they leave empty ones that need repair and never fix them. Then the company needs to make special arrangements for repairs.

Beer is another that is drop and hook on pick up at major breweries but can have multiple stops at small places with little room. And i get drop pay too but it isnt as much as i could drive in that time, so i would rather be driving.

When dealing with food time is of the essence. Some customers only unload meats at midnight, frozen at 0700 and perishables at noon for example. Meat and produce are almost never drop and hook at receivers because the product is destroyed if the receiver "loses" the trailer on their yard. That only takes one person entering the wrong trailer into the computer. Been there done that. I went to Walmart and security refusee to let me in cause the computer said the trailer was currently on the lot. Turned into a big hassle.

Trucking is much more complex than most people think. There is no way I could say I do mostly drop and hook. I have kept the same trailer for up to 2 weeks. Maybe 50/50, i dont know. i never really kept track, but even if it is a drop on one end, a drop on both ends is more rare. However, to run a dry load which would be a drop at both ends I simply turn off the reefer.

I would think loads such as live animals are always live loads such as loading cattle from the feedlot enroute to the slaughterhouse. Any cattle hauling experience here?

Yes, drop n hook probably doesn't usually work for perishable goods, maybe not?

Things that have long shelf lives as oil drums on pallets, cement and lumber are probably loads that are conducive to drop n hook by nature, maybe?

Brett says in Raw Truth that some companies only deal with certain kinds of cargo and on a regular basis with the same customers over the same routes and perhaps this puts some degree of predictability in a driver's life.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

G-Town's Comment
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How many of you are old enough to remember the TV show Fantasy Island? "Tatoo?" "Boss, de plane".

Todd...your reality is definitely to the far right of normal, common sense expectations. We are at the very beginning or end of the supply chain, completely exposed by every F/U and/or change that occurred up-stream hours, days or at times weeks prior. I highly suggest finding a book on basic logistics, because many of your questions center around "movin'-sh**-101", and have no direct bearing on performing this job with reasonable efficiency. Seriously Man...how on earth can you expect something with almost an infinite number of variables have anything beyond basic standards? And please...keep the f'ing government out of it. Everything they touch ends up worse and more expensive.

There's my daily "Todd" rant...

Okay, real quick...Todd this is for you, and highly summarized...

A typical Walmart dry grocery load is loaded with anywhere from 1-4 store stops (40-44k lbs, 26-30 pallets), usually (hopefully) in sequential order. It's only the last stop that can be drop & hook, and only if an empty is available and the store is a drop & hook location (due to size, or lack there-of). Anything before the last stop is a live unload that I am required to oversee, and at times supervise. Dry vendor backhauls are usually, but not always drop & hook.

A typical FDD (Freezer-Deli-Dairy) consolidated Walmart perishable reefer load is 3-5 (35-39k lbs, 24-26 pallets) stops, interspersed between 3 different temperature zones. It's possible to have a pallets for a single store located in 3 different zones, requiring other store pallets come-off first in order to get to the specific pallet for that current store delivery, and then everything put back that is not assigned to that particular store (like Rainy said, it can be complex). Confused yet? Imagine new drivers dealing with this? It's why we usually train new drivers for up to 3 days. That said, Walmart Reefer store stops are always live unload, and absolutely must be supervised by the driver. If a miss-delivery occurs, the driver is responsible for back-tracking and "righting" the mistake. Very costly in time when this happens (and it does). Perishable vendor backhauls are sometimes drop & hook, sometimes live load. And sometimes a combination that occurs at Joanna Farms between their different plants on the same property. It's not unusual to p/u a reefer loaded halfway with frozen yogurt that requires docking for a live load of milk (different temp zones).

Backhauls vary from vendor to vendor and also dependent on how busy the vendor is, seasonal. Turkey or Potato farms in October, crazy busy, trailers parked in the adjoining street. Or Nestle' Waters during the summer is very busy, often times requiring a live-load occur or a swap for a pre-loaded trailer assigned to another Walmart route (please don't ask).

So Todd, that's what you can expect for just one Dedicated Retail Grocery Account. Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

How many of you are old enough to remember the TV show Fantasy Island? "Tatoo?" "Boss, de plane".

Todd...your reality is definitely to the far right of normal, common sense expectations. We are at the very beginning or end of the supply chain, completely exposed by every F/U and/or change that occurred up-stream hours, days or at times weeks prior. I highly suggest finding a book on basic logistics, because many of your questions center around "movin'-sh**-101", and have no direct bearing on performing this job with reasonable efficiency. Seriously Man...how on earth can you expect something with almost an infinite number of variables have anything beyond basic standards? And please...keep the f'ing government out of it. Everything they touch ends up worse and more expensive.

There's my daily "Todd" rant...

Okay, real quick...Todd this is for you, and highly summarized...

A typical Walmart dry grocery load is loaded with anywhere from 1-4 store stops (40-44k lbs, 26-30 pallets), usually (hopefully) in sequential order. It's only the last stop that can be drop & hook, and only if an empty is available and the store is a drop & hook location (due to size, or lack there-of). Anything before the last stop is a live unload that I am required to oversee, and at times supervise. Dry vendor backhauls are usually, but not always drop & hook.

A typical FDD (Freezer-Deli-Dairy) consolidated Walmart perishable reefer load is 3-5 (35-39k lbs, 24-26 pallets) stops, interspersed between 3 different temperature zones. It's possible to have a pallets for a single store located in 3 different zones, requiring other store pallets come-off first in order to get to the specific pallet for that current store delivery, and then everything put back that is not assigned to that particular store (like Rainy said, it can be complex). Confused yet? Imagine new drivers dealing with this? It's why we usually train new drivers for up to 3 days. That said, Walmart Reefer store stops are always live unload, and absolutely must be supervised by the driver. If a miss-delivery occurs, the driver is responsible for back-tracking and "righting" the mistake. Very costly in time when this happens (and it does). Perishable vendor backhauls are sometimes drop & hook, sometimes live load. And sometimes a combination that occurs at Joanna Farms between their different plants on the same property. It's not unusual to p/u a reefer loaded halfway with frozen yogurt that requires docking for a live load of milk (different temp zones).

Backhauls vary from vendor to vendor and also dependent on how busy the vendor is, seasonal. Turkey or Potato farms in October, crazy busy, trailers parked in the adjoining street. Or Nestle' Waters during the summer is very busy, often times requiring a live-load occur or a swap for a pre-loaded trailer assigned to another Walmart route (please don't ask).

So Todd, that's what you can expect for just one Dedicated Retail Grocery Account. Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

I just had flashbacks!!! shocked.pngsmile.gif

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Todd Holmes's Comment
member avatar

How many of you are old enough to remember the TV show Fantasy Island? "Tatoo?" "Boss, de plane".

Todd...your reality is definitely to the far right of normal, common sense expectations. We are at the very beginning or end of the supply chain, completely exposed by every F/U and/or change that occurred up-stream hours, days or at times weeks prior. I highly suggest finding a book on basic logistics, because many of your questions center around "movin'-sh**-101", and have no direct bearing on performing this job with reasonable efficiency. Seriously Man...how on earth can you expect something with almost an infinite number of variables have anything beyond basic standards? And please...keep the f'ing government out of it. Everything they touch ends up worse and more expensive.

There's my daily "Todd" rant...

Okay, real quick...Todd this is for you, and highly summarized...

A typical Walmart dry grocery load is loaded with anywhere from 1-4 store stops (40-44k lbs, 26-30 pallets), usually (hopefully) in sequential order. It's only the last stop that can be drop & hook, and only if an empty is available and the store is a drop & hook location (due to size, or lack there-of). Anything before the last stop is a live unload that I am required to oversee, and at times supervise. Dry vendor backhauls are usually, but not always drop & hook.

A typical FDD (Freezer-Deli-Dairy) consolidated Walmart perishable reefer load is 3-5 (35-39k lbs, 24-26 pallets) stops, interspersed between 3 different temperature zones. It's possible to have a pallets for a single store located in 3 different zones, requiring other store pallets come-off first in order to get to the specific pallet for that current store delivery, and then everything put back that is not assigned to that particular store (like Rainy said, it can be complex). Confused yet? Imagine new drivers dealing with this? It's why we usually train new drivers for up to 3 days. That said, Walmart Reefer store stops are always live unload, and absolutely must be supervised by the driver. If a miss-delivery occurs, the driver is responsible for back-tracking and "righting" the mistake. Very costly in time when this happens (and it does). Perishable vendor backhauls are sometimes drop & hook, sometimes live load. And sometimes a combination that occurs at Joanna Farms between their different plants on the same property. It's not unusual to p/u a reefer loaded halfway with frozen yogurt that requires docking for a live load of milk (different temp zones).

Backhauls vary from vendor to vendor and also dependent on how busy the vendor is, seasonal. Turkey or Potato farms in October, crazy busy, trailers parked in the adjoining street. Or Nestle' Waters during the summer is very busy, often times requiring a live-load occur or a swap for a pre-loaded trailer assigned to another Walmart route (please don't ask).

So Todd, that's what you can expect for just one Dedicated Retail Grocery Account. Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

Ok, G-Town, we all can for WISH for one thing but getting is another ball of wax. Should I become an industrial engineer and try to figure out how to make freight trucking more efficient? No, just kidding, my college days are over. But Brett did leave me with the impression in his book, Raw Truth, that some companies and customers by the nature of the goods involved have more regularity (if that word even exist in truckerspeak vocabulary) in their respective operations than others. Not all companies are "the same". Brett also says the more trucks roll, the more money flows. Now, I don't know anything about temperature zones or backhauls. I never drove for Walmart but I can see the potential for truck driver impatience and short tempers. In my other occupations, I have dealt with drivers face to face. In the army, early 1990's, a civilian contractor carrier driver criticized me in the motor pool for being too slow or incompetent with a Hyster 4,000 pound forklift. He was trying to tell me how to operate a forklift. There were pallets of supplies I had volunteered to help load from the ground level to the back of the dry van. I had prior experience with a forklift at another job but was a bit rusty in my forklift skills. In 1985, I had a job at Burger King: the kind of job I now put down. I had to stock the store early in the morning with a hand truck when the "Distron" rig (a BK corporate Great Dane reefer) came. The driver would stack these on my dolly in something he called a "ten-stack" such as cartons of frozen burger patties. I would help stack things on the dolly sometimes. One time I did not do it his way but in some other way I thought would make the job faster. I ended up spilling the cartoons all over the ground and I caught the Dutch Uncle from him and then finally his method made sense after all. Yes, sir, some drivers have a God complex. They will buffalo around shippers and receivers. I have been on both the shipper and receiver end of a semi with arrogant drivers at each end.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Todd sees...

I never drove for Walmart but I can see the potential for truck driver impatience and short tempers.

Exactly why impatience and quick tempered personalities will often fail at truck driving. Walmart will not tolerate it. You play the hand you are dealt and do so professionally.

And something else you replied with that is a bit of a red flag and not that surprising...

In summary you didn’t follow instructions and decided you knew better and palletized some freight “your way”. That sort of approach to truck driving can get you fired, fined or worse. Follow ALL instructions because until a new driver has experience, you absolutely do not “know better”.

When you give me an opening like that, I’ll keep bustin’ your Chops Todd...eventually some of our advice might stick.

millionmiler24 (CRST Amba's Comment
member avatar
Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

This is Trucking 100% in a nutshell. This is definitely one of the most unpredictable industries you could ever get into. We never know what is goin to happen from one day to the next.

Now that I have thought about it, that is LIFE in general also.

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