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March 2, 2023
Drop and hook your way to efficiency with Amazon Freight
Reliable capacity and speed remain among the most significant factors shippers consider when evaluating transportation services. That means the industry is always looking for ways to help keep the flow of freight moving through supply chains.

One such way is known as “drop and hook.” In times of tight capacity and strong customer demand, drop and hook services can drive transportation efficiencies. Even in times of plentiful capacity, drop and hook services help make for quicker final-mile deliveries.

But first, what is drop and hook?

One stop, two trailers
Drop and hook can take a few different forms, but essentially the goal is the same: optimizing time and trailers.

The way it works is when a driver delivers an empty container at a facility (“drops”) and picks up a pre-loaded trailer at the same facility (“hooks”). It’s a seamless process that is largely done within the same trucking yard or a yard close by

Contrast this with “live loads,” which are shipments where the driver must stop while their trailer is loaded or unloaded. Drop and hook helps to reduce trucker wait times. Thus, it alleviates any potential detention charges that can accrue.

Drop and hook trucking is an effective method for many high-volume shipping operations that are operating at scale or are looking to expand for greater efficiencies. These shippers typically have consistency and predictability in their loads, making them an ideal fit for drop and hook.

Shipping smarter, not harder
Efficiency is clearly the greatest advantage of drop and hook for shippers, but there are many more to unpack.

Like any load, it all starts at the shipping location. Drop and hook lets shippers better allocate their workers’ schedules at their warehouses or distribution centers. Instead of scheduling around tightly scheduled truck arrivals, work shifts can be spread out more effectively in terms of days or even weeks to load or unload trailers. Put simply, it leads to more predictability and consistency.

On top of it, a shipper avoids many of the different hands and forklifts that move their loads. This saves labor costs. “They are not flowing goods based on driver appointments and are not constrained by time limits,” according to one shipper. Fewer touches also means there is less of a chance for the load to be damaged.

These benefits don’t come without smarter thinking, mostly in the form of planning and preparing. Drop and hook service requires a longer lead time. Shippers need proper warning that the driver will be dropping their container off and hooking to one from their yard.

That being said, the benefits far outweigh the more prep work needed, especially when you consider how drivers are impacted.

Besides not having to wait for trailers to unload or load, many truck drivers prefer drop and hook, because it’s easy to schedule and does not require the need for a specific delivery window. It also allows for more time on the road and less time helping load and unload trailers.

Drop and hook at Amazon Freight
The critical trifecta for a carrier to make drop and hook work for their shippers is capacity, scale, and technology. You can’t make the delicate choreography of trailers coming and going work smoothly unless you have all three.

That’s where Amazon Freight comes in. We have more than 50,000 trailers and carriers at our disposal. Those trailers are layered over the Amazon network and its lanes. To make it all synchronized, we also have the advanced tech that optimizes the routes and coordinates the flow of trailers.

“Our network coverage in the lower 48 is strong, and with our large fleet of trailers we’re able to create value by providing drop trailer programs broadly throughout our network,” says Matt Harris, Head of Enterprise Sales at Amazon Freight. “This helps our customers improve efficiency in operations and keeps drivers on the road to eliminate wasted down time. It’s a win-win.”

Ultimately, drop and hook is a critical advantage for high-volume shippers, but it has to be executed properly to work and deliver value. If you’re interested in exploring what Amazon Freight’s drop and hook services can do for you, contact our team.
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