Thursday, July 4, 2013

Exit Strategy

When you book freight and show up to haul it, the customer expects you to tell them how to load your trailer.  Sometimes they tell you how they want the shipment situated, but they usually wont be unloading it, so it's in your best interests to have a plan in place before proceeding. 

Many times when you take the freight off, the receiving customer wont have the same type of dock area that the shipping customer has.  You might back into a dock and have pallets loaded from the rear with a pallet jack or a forklift.  Then when you unload that same shipment, the customer might want to remove the freight on the trailer from the side.  If you have a van trailer, you might load carpet rolls with a forklift that has a carpet roll attachment installed and then arrive at the destination where they don't have the same type of equipment.

It is important to ask how it will be taken off the trailer while you're loading because it might dictate how it is positioned on the trailer.  Many times the best thing to do is to call the receiving end and ask how it will be taken off.  If it's obvious how it will be off-loaded then there are no worries.  If you were putting pallets into a van trailer then usually van trailers are unloaded with a forklift or pallet jack. 

Sometimes it seems obvious that the freight would be loaded and unloaded in the same way, but it's not.  On a flatbed, you are more likely to run into this situation because flatbeds can be backed into docks,loaded from the sides, or from the top as with a crane.  It's best to know how the shipment will be off-loaded before it's put on the trailer.  If you don't know, you should ask and if you can't find out, you shouldn't load it. 

You don't want to arrive at a receiver and be stuck in their yard while they are trying to figure out how to unload the trailer.  In one instance, I had a large piece of odd shaped alloy steel loaded in a way that the shipper considered right side up and the receiver considered upside down.  This receiving customer needed a special tool to flip the freight over just to get it off the truck.  There was no way to know that it was loaded upside down because many times the freight isn't something that you've ever seen before. 


Scott said...

Ed- When looking for a load on your company loadboard, does it say much about what it is...other than the weight and if tarps required? Most of the boards just have miles and weight.

Ed said...

Scott, the load board is vague but will give basic details. After awhile you can know what is hauled for whom, and where the loads come out of so you can sort of know what some of the freight is. The load board is not very specific.