Why do loads get rejected?
November 23, 2022
As a broker or a carrier, the last thing you need to have is a rejected load. Sadly, loads being left are neither new nor uncommon. Shipments can be rejected for all kinds of reasons. Some of the most common causes include changes in the required temperature, inadequate storage during transit, broken seals, and signs of damage via wetness/dampness.
Understanding why a load has been rejected is paramount to correcting and avoiding the same problems down the line. When you are sitting at the receiver's dock, and you have been told a load is rejected, it can make you feel very small.
The first step for any trucker, or broker, is to contact your insurance provider. They can start working through the process with you to ensure that you are financially covered. Another important factor to remember is that loads, while rejected, might still be valuable. So, it would help you work with the broker and your insurance provider to understand the next step(s).
Most of the time, shippers will have some contractual control over what happens to the rejected load. You should keep a close eye on this, as the shipper's decision might jar with what you or the broker desires.
If you are moving loads with a time-sensitive agreement, such as frozen food, you should look for a USDA inspection. This can make sure that the rejection is fair and legitimate.
What determines a rejection?
The decision behind a rejection can often be quite contentious. Indeed, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some will refuse a shipment despite no real or valid reason for doing so. The buyer then has to make a decision claim, which will be reviewed to determine how fair (or not) this rejection is.
Whatever happens, you now need to ensure you get rid of the load. A claims adjustor will typically spend in, and they, and the shipper, should be able to help you find a solution. This usually means selling on the load to another interested buyer or even finding a warehouse where the goods can be offloaded. Bids will be looked at for local and national buyers, and you might need to take the rejected load to a different location.
Again, what determines a rejection can be pretty subjective. This can make it hard to come up with a decision that everyone is happy with. If the rejection is accepted, your insurer must get involved ASAP so that a best-case scenario solution can be sought.
What do truck drivers do with rejected loads?
The best thing you can do as a carrier is to record as much information about the incident as possible. Document the staff who loaded the cargo in the first place, and make sure that you have their role correct. Are they a shipper? A trucker? What?
If the cargo has any perishables within, you should take immediate notes of things like expiration dates and temperatures. This can help with either disposing of the load to someone who can use it, like a charity, or ensuring that it can be sold to another party instead.
If the load is sold off to someone else, you might still get the job of taking it from the current location to the new taker. This can be useful as at least you get some kind of payment for completing the journey. What happens if a product cannot be sold and/or repurposed?
The claims adjustor might ask you to get rid of the product and dispose of it as best you can. You could, for example, find that the item – let us say it is a food product – could be given away to a local charity instead of just being dumped. Other products might be able to be resold or essentially given away to a charity, with the original supplier then able to write off this load as a charitable donation.
The best thing you can do is look for a warehouse where you can offload the products to be stored. This makes it easier for the claims adjustor to get a new bid from a buyer. This process could be completed in a few days, though it can be shorter if time is of the essence for this particular shipment.
Understand the broker process
Lastly, ensure that you work with the broker(s) you partner with so you understand their rejections process. Some will already have a pre-prepared alternative that you can use or a location where the goods can be dropped off. Make sure that you understand what each broker wants, and when you are given instructions, make sure that you stick to them.
Also, remember that this can strain your relationship with a broker. This is why having as much detail about the incident, why it was rejected, and what you did to try and resolve the issue can be very important. Rejections happen, but if you are held responsible, it can hurt your reputation as a carrier. Make sure you prove that you followed the rules and regulations and reduce the risk of being held accountable for rejections upon delivery.
Rejections are the biggest problem you will run into as a carrier. It is very important to ensure that you can accept the issue and deal with it maturely. Please stick to the above ideas; it can be much easier to ensure you come out of the other end of rejection with your confidence and reputation intact.