Companies are scrambling to make drivers feel more welcome as they continue to face surging freight demand and a shortage of drivers.
According to vice president of Finkle Trucking Cliff Finkle, carriers are starting to score shippers and receivers. He says that the primary way of keeping score is money.
Bloomberg reports that trucking companies are increasing leverage by applying added pressure to cargo costs. Increasing freight expenses are hurting profits at companies like General Mills.
Currently, the U.S. is experiencing 280,000 fewer truck drivers than what it needs. The number of available trucks has only gotten worse since the ELD mandate went into effect last month.
Customers have been going the extra mile to make sure they can get drivers when they needs them by adding break areas or taking steps to speed truck turnaround, Bloomberg reports.
Economists have said that if shippers processed cargo more quickly, they could free freight capacity as much as 20 percent.
Another way to speed up the process is to enable a driver to drop off a trailer at a shipping yard and hook up another that's already loaded, even before the first is emptied. However, this would require customers to provide space for parking the extra trailer and its own drivers to maneuver equipment into position. Nestle has utilized a drop-and-hook operation at its U.S. water unit, cutting loading and unloading time by 18 percent.
Not all Nestle locations have the space for the drop-and-hook operations, so the company has made driver waiting areas more pleasant, Bloomberg reports. Its Onatrio, California location converted part of its warehouse into a break room with restrooms, coffee, bottled water and has a television. Nestle also sometimes pays when truckers are delayed at its facilities.