Decrease Dwell Time in a Company’s Supply Chain

The amount of time that trucks spend at loading and off-loading facilities is referred to as dwell time, or dwell for short. Dwell time can affect multiple links in the supply chain and have a major impact on the planning and forecasting along the chain.

Decrease Dwell Time in a Company’s Supply Chain

Truck Dwell Time

Delays in the supply chain cause inefficiencies and also have an opportunity cost. As it pertains to dwell time, opportunity cost is what other profitable activity the truck could be doing instead of waiting. It is possible for carriers to charge detention fees, however, this can place stress on relationships and cause delays in payments.

Container Dwell Time

Not only do carriers lose out financially when their trucks are delayed, but there is also the additional threat of penalties from container owners when the trucks carrying their containers are dwelling. Therefore, container owners are somewhat at the mercy of port, customs, and rail authorities if they are inefficient or decide to inspect a container. The consequence of such delays is that the carriers are late to set off.

Calculating Dwell Time

To start, check for your own internal choke points. There are two main scenarios to look at. First, check on the regular loads which offer consistent data, day in and day out. Second, check ad hoc orders. Ad hoc orders may involve the same clients and routes but on an ad hoc basis. Irrespective, the process and time taken should be consistent.

The benefit of modern logistics software is that all in and out paperwork is date stamped. Also, the software allows companies to produce reports at the touch of a button for instant analysis. After you examine your own operation, the next port of call is the link where you pick up from and the client you deliver to. Your paperwork will be handy for when you place a call or make an appointment to visit either the supplier or the client you deliver to. It it possible that management is unaware they are causing supply chain delays and costing the business money.

Set Compliance Targets

The good news is supply chain companies can take proactive steps to reduce dwell time. The first step is to identify where the problems are. This is where warehouse management and inventory management software systems add value. In order to identify problems, the business must measure key points. Here are some of the measures to be looked at. When setting compliance targets, they can be looked at per load, truck, route, and driver.

  • Number of appointments/loads
  • Non-compliant load %
  • Carrier delayed arrivals %
  • The average delay time of delayed arrival loads

It will also be useful to consult with the links in the chain that come before and after you. In severe cases, carriers may opt to decline to pick up from certain distribution centers or drop off at certain retailers who are repeat offenders.


Most companies are able to reduce dwell time by incentivizing truck drivers to play a more proactive role at pick up and drop off points. In this scenario, bonuses can be a form of on-target earnings for drivers. Supply chain companies might also try incentivizing pick-up points and drop-off points to give trucks preferential treatment. If you have been appointed by a distribution center, consider offering them a small discount based on in and out time compliance targets. Offer supply chain partners a small discount based on quicker turnaround times.

The Junction LLC | Truckload Shipping

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