October 27, 2022

There are many different kinds of shipments in the trucking industry.
Reefer trucking consists of temperature-controlled trailers that transport goods that either need to be refrigerated or frozen. LTL shipping includes combining products from multiple shippers on one trailer to maximize the efficiency of loads.

Another common term that you may have heard is drop and hook trucking. This is one of the most sought-after types of trucking in the industry, since there is no need for drivers to unload the trailer when they reach their destination. 

Sometimes referred to as drop and pick shipping, it's something that everyone in the trucking industry should know about. But, is it a great fit for everyone? It's important to understand all the different aspects of drop and hook trucking to know whether it's something you should pursue.

We provide all the details to you below.

Drop and Hook Trucking Definition

It's important to start with the basic definition of what drop and hook trucking is. This type of shipping includes the driver delivering a trailer that is full. At the destination, the driver will hook their tractor to another trailer at the exact same location that's already loaded.

It's as simple as that.

Live Load Definition

The other main type of trucking is referred to as a live load. With this type of trucking, the driver will need to wait at the origination location for the trailer to be loaded at a dock. He'll either drive an empty trailer to that first location, or the location will be where the truck he is driving is stored.

Then, once he gets to the end destination -- or destinations -- he'll either have to help in unloading the truck or wait once again at the dock for others to unload it for him. 

This is the traditional way of doing trucking, especially if there are multiple destinations along the route. If there is only one drop-off location, many trucking companies would prefer drop and hook trucking because of the amount of time it saves.

Pros and Cons of Drop and Hook Trucking

There are many pros and cons of drop and hook trucking. Let's look at some of these pros and cons.

Benefits of Drop and Hook Trucking
There are a number of advantages to this type of shipping for trucking companies, namely that there's never a need to load or unload the trailer with goods. The drivers don't have to deal with the goods themselves at all. They just have to worry about driving them from one destination to the next, and simply dropping off the entire trailer.

Another major advantage is that the driver can also pick up the next shipment in the same way at the same location. This helps to maximize the driving miles that the shipping company can charge for, rather than having the driver travel with an empty cab to a new location.

This doesn't mean that there won't be any waiting time at the drop-off location, though. It's possible that you may have to wait for an available dock to drop the trailer off at. You also may need to wait if the next trailer you're picking up isn't put in the best position, is behind another trailer or is stored at another location.

All that being said, they average time you might have to wait for drop and hook trucking is an hour or so. With live loads, that wait time can be in excess of three hours sometimes.

Drawbacks of Drop and Hook Trucking
There are also some drawbacks of drop and hook trucking. One is that things don't always go smoothly at the different destinations. As mentioned before, it can be very frustrating to sit around and wait if docks aren't made available or if new trailers aren't properly prepped for the driver once they get there.

In addition, it's possible that a new trailer won't be available to pick up at all. If this happens, it would require the driver to be riding with an empty cab on the road, which can be dangerous. It also results in the trucking company having a truck on the road that isn't racking up revenue on its way to the next shipment.

Finally, even if there is a new trailer ready for the driver to pick up, it will be foreign equipment to them. This can cause some issues during the delivery process. It could also result in some relatively dangerous conditions on the road, depending on the driver's experience.

What Type of Shippers Use Drop and Hook Trucking?

It's also important to understand what type of shippers might use drop and hook trucking, so you can see if it might be a good fit for your company.

When a single shipper has many loose items, they may opt for this type of trucking. The reason is that it can take an exorbitant amount of time to unload and load multiple loose items as compared to those that are on a pallet. 

As such, the shipper and receiver may decide that it would be best for them to unload the trailer on their own time rather than pay for the time it would take the trucking company to wait for this to be done.

If a warehouse is experiencing a hiccup at their facility, then live loads might be difficult to schedule. With drop and hook trucking, though, they can leave the trailer on the site and unload it when they have the availability to do so.

Finally, any shipper that is under a time constraint may opt for drop and hook trucking. This allows them to unload and load the trailer at their convenience, rather than potentially backing up their entire operation.

One major factor to consider in all of these situations, of course, is that if a shipper wants to use drop and hook trucking, they have to have the space available to store the trailer. In fact, the facility has to have multiple trailers on site, as well as room for more that are coming.

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