Do We Pay Too Much for Shippers' Mistakes?
I would like to start my first blog with a problem every driver and carrier has experienced at some point: claims for damages.
I have been involved in the transportation industry for the past 28 years and during that time I have seen quite a few accidents or mishaps happen to company owned equipment. How many times have you heard from a carrier or fellow driver that they hit a fence or backed into a dock too hard causing some brick damage? The end result is always the same. Pictures are taken of the damage in question and the carrier usually pays because the damage was caused by their driver.
My question is why the same kind of situation is not done with the roles reversed.
A couple of weeks ago I was doing a pick up at one of our customer’s suppliers (a 3PL). The lift truck driver had loaded five pallets on the trailer, no problem. Except that he was hitting the dock plate harder every time he exited the trailer. The shock caused the rollup door to drop a few inches and the end result was the lower panel being ripped right out of the frame.
The lift truck driver knew what the problem was and admitted he was in the wrong. The supervisor came over, looked and took some photos. After unhooking the cables I was able to remove the badly damaged panel. Numbers were exchanged and I thought the problem was settled. I was wrong.
Two days later we receive an email. “They will not cover any cost of this repair. They feel this was a health and safety issue and trailer maintenance was the problem."
I am not just any driver. I have extensive JHSC training to WSIB standards and I'm the driver trainer for my company. The trailer in question had no previous issues with the door. We keep strict records and if there was a problem, I certainly would not be pulling that trailer.
This isn't the case all the time. I have certainly had experiences where the shipper has took responsibility when it was necessary and worked quick to clear things up.
Yet it often seems that carriers, more often than not, have to take responsibility for their incidents while shippers and receivers do not. The system can seem quite unfair sometimes. We want to please our customer, sure — but when it starts costing $1200.00 for their mistake, you have to ask why?
Till next time, drive safe and keep it between the lines.