Recently the term “Shipper of Choice” has been used more frequently within the transportation community. While there are multiple strategies a shipper can deploy to attract carrier partners, one of the most impactful is having an efficient loading and unloading operation.

Drop trailer programs are an effective way to achieve this. Without having to wait, carriers can pick up a trailer that has been previously loaded or drop off a trailer that needs to be unloaded. If you move consistent volumes of truckload freight, a drop trailer program may benefit your warehouse operations in one or more of the areas listed below.

1. Reduction in Shipping Costs 

Offering a drop trailer program can help you reduce your overall shipping costs in a variety of ways. First, these programs allow warehouses to avoid most, if not all, detention charges. Additionally, with the increase in must-arrive-by dates (MABD) required by shippers, these programs can help you avoid costly fines associated with strict retail deliveries. Finally, shippers may actually see a reduced cost per mile on lanes that allow drop trailer programs. While it can be costly for a carrier to dedicate equipment to a shipper, the consistent volume, along with clarity on the loading and unloading schedule, often allows a carrier to get more precise with pricing commitments. 

2. Improved Service Levels

With drivers typically limited to driving 11 hours a day, staying on schedule is key to their job. Whenever drivers are detained at a facility, not only is their next appointment affected but also their next shipment. When you consider the multiple obstacles truck drivers face daily, providing a drop trailer option (as opposed to requiring a specific arrival time for an appointment) can make the difference between an on-time and late pickup or delivery. 

3. Flexibility and Convenience to Carriers

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate introduced multiple changes to the way carriers and drivers manage their time on the road and at loading facilities. Now that hours of service are monitored electronically, carriers and drivers must be extra cognizant of delays and detention at warehouses, as they have an impact on service as well as revenue per truck. Shippers that allow their carrier partners to drop trailers can help drivers breeze through the loading or unloading process by picking up or dropping off a trailer without having to wait.

4. Flexibility and Convenience to Shippers and Warehouse Employees

In addition to providing carriers with flexibility, implementing a drop trailer program can help provide flexibility to your warehouse employees. These programs allow you to load or unload a trailer at your convenience when staffing levels are adequate. It can also help you maintain consistent staffing levels during peak seasons, when the volume of shipments you’re shipping or receiving may increase.

How Can Echo Help?

As a top-rated 3PL, Echo can help you weigh the benefits of a drop trailer program. Typically, we evaluate shipping volume, yard space, in/out gate process, and security for clients to establish whether the program aligns with their needs. Coordinating a drop trailer arrangement between a shipper and a carrier can be challenging, as not all carriers provide this type of service. Echo can help you identify carriers that fit your shipping needs by tapping into our diverse network of over 50,000 carrier partners. 

Are you interested in setting up a drop trailer program? Contact an Echo representative today at 800-354-7993 or, or request a quote for a shipment

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