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FreightWaves Carrier Summit: Helping truckers exit dwell hell (with video)

Neither truck drivers nor their employers want to be stuck waiting at a warehouse

Photo: FreightWaves

The worst part of any truck driver’s day is being stuck in dwell time, unexpectedly sitting in a warehouse parking lot for hours, waiting to drop off or pick up freight. In-transit stops and waiting for appointments to transport the next load compound that frustration.

San Francisco-based technology provider Baton, recently co-founded by Stanford University graduates and entrepreneurs Andrew Berberick and Nate Robert, is developing a solution to help long-haul truckers reduce their dwell. 

Berberick and Robert said they interviewed about 150 trucking executives and scores of long-haul drivers at truck stops over the past year, discovering that dwell time remains the trucking industry’s Achilles’ heel. Baton estimates that American truckers lose 2 billion hours a year waiting in line to pick up or drop off cargo at the nation’s warehouses.

Kevin Hill, FreightWaves director of editorial and research, asked the two Baton executives during an online Carrier Summit fireside chat session on Wednesday about how much dwell time may compound during an average long-haul truck move today.

Roughly 10 hours of “waste” is associated with dwell times: three hours in transit (traveling in urban areas to make appointments), three hours waiting at the warehouse to load and unload, and one to six hours waiting for the next freight load, Robert said.

Baton views the answer to reducing dwell times for American truckers as a blend of infrastructure and technology. Like Amazon, they have started setting up drop facilities — so far, one outside Atlanta and another near Los Angeles — where truckloads are dropped off by the long-haul driver and a local trucker transports the cargo for the “final mile.” To provide visibility into this process, Baton is using an application programming interface (API) to develop technology to reduce the potential for overall dwell times.

Robert believes the industry’s drive to autonomous, long-haul trucking in the next five to 10 years will fit well into Baton’s formula.

Berberick said eliminating dwell times should also go a long way to improving the truck driving profession and allow trucking companies to retain drivers longer term. 

Baton is testing its concept with three of the top 50 trucking companies and one that is among the top 10. “Our audience is the carriers,” Robert said.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.