Avoiding Detention Costs Through Automatic Data Capture

Avoiding Detention Costs Through Automatic Data Capture

Defining Detention

Detention is the result of a shipper or receiver exceeding the allotted time window to load/unload a truck. In the US, the typical detention time is between 1 and 2 hours.  If a carrier enters detention, there is a fee associated called a detention fee. This fee is a per hour cost typically between $25-$100.

A detention fee is used to offset the cost of the truck being detained at the shipper or receiver’s facility. If they are detained it prevents them from arriving at their next appointment on time and can even prevent them from picking up their next load all together – cutting into their profits.

False Claims Result in High Costs

Detention fees make sense if a facility truly did hold up a driver. For example, a forklift could have required maintenance while they were loading the trailer or the facility overscheduled trailers that needed to be unloaded. However, what if the fault lied in the driver? Perhaps the driver went to get a bite to eat or fell asleep in the lobby while the truck was being loaded/unloaded and didn’t return until detention began, resulting in a detention fee – a fee that is the facility’s responsibility to pay for.

Unfortunately, when scenarios like this happen, facilities lack the proof to dispute any claims. Often, they are faced with high costs associated with detention fees due to the lack of data around their loading dock. A large food manufacturer stated that they spend $75,000 per year on detention costs at one of their smaller sites that has only 11 loading docks. They are not alone; the US reports detention fees and related charges cost the industry over $1 billion dollars annually. 1

Avoiding Fees and Disputing Claims

When facilities use software programs that capture data automatically, fees associated with false detention claims can be avoided. Many of these software platforms capture data in real time and have a historical reporting feature. One particular product, Salvo InSite has a historic traceability report that features a load cycle timeline detailing the exact time the truck was ready to leave, providing facilities with the proof to dispute any false claims made against them for detention fees.

For example, imagine that you are a logistics manager who has just received a phone call from a company that claims their driver was kept on site longer than your agreed detention period. What you need is traceability of what happened at the dock to dispute the claim. The Salvo InSite Traceability Reports provide you with a log of all load cycles that have occurred at your site, along with a detailed timeline that breaks down the time at the loading dock. By filtering the report using date and alarm type, it is simple to find the load that is disputed.

In this scenario, the truck arrived at the dock and was loaded in a reasonable time, however once loading was completed and the dock door was closed, the driver did not depart for 75 minutes which took you beyond the 2-hour agreed detention time. With this new information you can dispute the claim as you have the recorded truth of what actually happened at the dock.


In conclusion, detention fees and claims can result in high costs for facilities. However, there is a way to avoid and dispute these claims through automatic data capture around the loading dock. The Salvo InSite platform can provide detailed data around the loading dock, allowing facilities to dispute any false claims using historic traceability reports. These reporting features and automatic data collection capabilities can end up saving companies millions in detentions fees and associated costs.

To learn more about Salvo InSite and to hear from one of our Salvo team members, please complete the form on our Salvo InSite webpage.