Drop-and-Hook: An Underutilized Strategy for the Cold Chain?



With the produce shipping season right around the corner, businesses have taken every step possible to cut costs and increase efficiency in a world where food supply issues are making headlines every day.

Despite this, drop-and-hook freight is one technique that cold chain companies appear to still be underutilizing.

In this article, we will explore the concept of Drop-and-Hook and how it is beneficial to food shippers.

Let’s take a look.


What Is Drop-and-Hook?

Drop-and-Hook refers to a strategy in which trucks arrive at a facility, unhook their trailers and immediately hook up to an already loaded trailer. This allows them to get back on the road as soon as possible.

This method, when used properly, saves a lot of time. However, there are other advantages and benefits of a drop-and-hook strategy...


What are the Benefits of Drop-and-Hook?


Scheduling is Much Simpler

Drop-and-hook allows shippers to load trucks throughout the day at their convenience. This is due to much less urgency in loading via Drop-and-Hook than there is with live loading, as pickup and delivery windows are often much wider.

Drivers also benefit from this scheduling flexibility. It is not necessary for them to remain at the warehouse until a trailer is available to haul. Instead, they arrive at the facility, unhook their previous shipment, hook up the new load, and get back on the road.


Minimized Detention Fees

A significant financial burden comes from detention fees associated with live loading. Having to wait for a crew to unload and then reload the trailer is a process most prefer to avoid. Detention fees accumulate easily, so any way to potentially avoid incurring these extra fees is what you want to aim for.

As mentioned above, with Drop-and-Hook, there is no waiting around at the warehouse. Therefore, the level of risk of detention fees as other strategies is not as high.


Drivers Can Cover More Miles in a Day

When drivers do not have to wait through a long process for trailers to be unloaded and reloaded, they can cover more miles in one day with that extra time.

The result is more customers get their goods in less time, businesses ship out more goods every day, and drivers make more money.


Time Pressure Relief

While recent reports regarding the job market have been encouraging, there is still a labor shortage in the United States. It is, therefore, necessary to find ways to accommodate workers so that they do not encounter extreme time pressures.

Drop-and-hook provides unparalleled flexibility to both drivers and warehouse dockworkers in that regard.


Drop-and-Hook Drawbacks


Trusting the Loading Team

Truck drivers need to ensure that they are in compliance with all restrictions pertaining to trailer weight. But if the facility overpacks a truck, significant time may be wasted on correcting the issue in a number of ways.

The reason that this issue stands out in particular in relation to Drop-and-Hook is that the process is carried out as quickly as possible. With a rapid-paced strategy implemented, the possibility of making mistakes is higher.

Over time, companies and their carriers can develop trust and understanding. However, early in a relationship, it’s more imperative than ever to spell out exactly what each party needs.


Space Issues

Drop-and-Hook requires a lot of space and if you have not accounted for it, it can get hectic. Otherwise, trailers that have been loaded and prepped for one driver with Drop-and-Hook may be stuck behind standard loads and effectively inaccessible.

Before initiating a large-scale drop-and-hook strategy, it’s crucial that businesses examine and maximize their available space for loading. The use of extra parking lot space and creative organization can, in many cases, address this issue.


Drop-and-Hook for the Cold Chain

Timing is extremely important when transporting temperature-sensitive goods. 

So while drop-and-hook strategies may save time for all parties involved in the process, communication needs to be sharp between drivers moving reefer trucks and the loading companies with whom they are working. If not, there is an increased risk of late deliveries resulting in food spoilage.

Drop-and-Hook is certainly a strategy that bears consideration for those in the food and temperature-controlled shipping industry.