Close to 63% of drivers spend more than three hours at a shipper’s dock waiting to be loaded and unloaded, according to a recent survey by DAT Solutions.

DAT, which maintains a network of load boards and provides other information management products and services, surveyed 247 carriers. Those companies reported that 54% of drivers say they experience typical wait times of three to four hours, and 9% responded that wait times of five or more hours were common. In fact, 84% of respondents ranked detention in the top five business problems that carriers face. This  was contrasted by only 20% of freight brokers agreeing that it was a top-five problem.

Both brokers and carriers defined detention as holding a driver and truck at the dock for more than two hours during loading and unloading.

"Driver detention is an urgent issue that must be addressed by our industry," said Don Thornton, senior VP at DAT Solutions. "It's a matter of fairness. Many shippers and receivers are lax about their dock operations, but it's the carriers and drivers who are forced to pay for that inefficiency."

Carriers are rarely paid for detention, but even when it is offered, it does not cover the full business cost that comes from the delay, according to DAT. Only 3% of carriers were paid on 90% or more of detention claims. The claims can carry a rate of $30 to $50 per hour, according to those surveyed, but the compensation does not cover the costs to their businesses of lost opportunities.

When delays occur, carriers may be forced to turn down other loads due to the unavailability of the driver and truck. One owner-operator who was surveyed reported losing two loads during a delay at a shippers dock, losing out on $1,900 in potential revenue.

A correlation was found between brokers that were reimbursed by shipper customers and brokers that paid for detention. As many as two-thirds of brokers surveyed said they paid detention only when they could collect the fee from the shipper or consignee, while the other third paid whenever carriers complained.

To see the full results of the report, click here.