DOT launches review of delays at the docks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, through the DOT Office of the Inspector General, has initiated an audit to collect data on the loading and unloading delays that carriers experience at the shipping docks, and then to assess the impact of those delays on the efficiency of the freight transportation system.

In the new highway bill, the FAST Act, Congress directed FMCSA to look into trucking concerns related to issues at shippers and receivers, particularly the impact of delays on driver safety and productivity.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. has led the effort in Washington to address these delays, calling time spent on the docks “the biggest inefficiency in trucking.”

“We look forward to participating in the audit and helping DOT evaluate what we have known to be true for far too long: Excessive wait times during the loading and unloading process has a negative impact on safety, costs society billions, and is part of the reason why the industry experiences high driver turnover rates,” OOIDA spokesman Norita Taylor told Fleet Owner.

The American Trucking Assns. does not currently collect data on the size and scope of delays at shipping or receiving docks, ATA spokesman Sean McNally noted. 

"However, we’re certainly aware of the many inefficiencies in the supply chain, and it’s not uncommon for professional drivers to experience delays at the docks," McNally said. "The recently announced DOT-OIG study, coupled with a recent FMCSA-sponsored study that attempts, in part, to determine the effect of detention time on hours of service compliance and safety outcomes, will add to the body of knowledge needed to make informed policy decisions on the issue."

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