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May 18, 2016

Allen Lund Company Newsletter

Emergent Issues in Distribution and Transportation

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Jenn Cole, Editor  
Allen Lund Company
Grand Rapids Office
(800) 641-5863 
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Unloading full semi-trailer loads of freight can be a very strenuous, and physically demanding job.

If you have been in the long haul trucking industry for any extended period of time, you inevitably have dealt with a lumper service in some capacity.  Thousands of consignees across the U.S. choose to contract outside companies to unload their inbound truckload shipments.  These lumper companies are responsible for basically unloading trailers as opposed to hiring in-house dock workers or paying drivers to unload the freight themselves.

There are many different views on this topic and everyone has the right to hold their own opinion.  The reason this tends to be a hot button issue is because time after time, drivers are standing dockside, watching their trailers be unloaded.  When it's time to pick up the bill of ladings, they also pick up a bill from a lumper company for unloading their trailer.  These fees are usually anywhere between $50.00 and $350.00, but have been known to escalate to $600.00.  Why is this a concern?  It takes approximately 30-45 minutes to unload a completely full trailer in most cases.  These costs are widely considered to be exorbitant.  I can see receivers not having the ability or desire to staff more employees to unload trailers, but there is a solution.  I deal with drivers every day that would be more than willing to unload their own trailers.  Many drivers would gladly unload their own trailers for a fraction of the cost that the lumper services are charging.  Most lumper companies seem to be more common with larger distribution depots or mixing centers in the consumer product goods industry.  These lumping costs are almost always 100% reimbursed by the customers who ship the freight, but these fees eventually trickle down to the consumer.  If customers are reimbursing trucking companies for extremely high unloading costs, they are undoubtedly passing along these costs to the consignee, who will pass along the cost to the consumer by increasing the price of their products.  With a struggling economy and unstable transportation costs in America today, there is no place for any one link of the supply chain to be demanding a disproportionally sized piece of the pie.

I mentioned before how many drivers we deal with on a daily basis are more than willing to unload their own trailers. Not only would drivers be making extra money, but physically, the act of unloading a trailer could be very beneficial.  Many drivers suffer through numerous health issues stemming from long hours of sitting behind the wheel, irregular sleep patterns, high stress levels and the infamous "truck stop diet".  Driver unloads, as they are known in the industry, should not be discouraged, in fact, it should be recommended.  If there are any liability concerns, waivers could be required to avoid any type of incidents.

All in all, this is a free country, and we are blessed to have a free market, capitalist economy.  Everyone has every right to try and make as much revenue as they possibly can. Personally, I believe that more of the over-all revenue should be passed along to the trucking companies who take on the majority of the risk.

Jacob Ioerger
Transportation Broker, Chicago

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Jacob Ioerger graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelors or Business (BB) degree in Marketing Management in 2004.  He began working for the Allen Lund Company in February of 2005 as a Transportation Broker.

About Allen Lund Company: Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 400 employees, the Allen Lund Company works with shippers and carriers across the nation to arrange dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight; additionally, the Allen Lund Company has an international division, which is licensed by the FMC as an OTI-NVOCC #019872NF, and a logistics and software division, ALC Logistics.  


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