Several hundred employees at Choptank head out the reflective double doors at the end of the day while quietly the after-hours team slips in, seemingly unnoticed. These are the late-night heroes, the knights of transportation, who take over after the hustle and bustle of a long day on the company operations’ floor. They handle everything from emergency situations to business- as-usual requests from 5:30 pm to 7:30 am. They keep the freight rolling into the wee small hours of the night.
Tina used to work during daytime hours at Choptank. She worked her way up from carrier sales support, to carrier sales and finally, to a senior carrier sales position. She now oversees the entire after-hours team as a logistics manager. “Most people don’t realize that transportation never stops. Trucks are running all hours of the day and night and someone has to be available to answer questions when customers and carriers need answers, even if it’s 3 a.m.”
The team is ready when they come in to go over a pre-loaded schedule of check calls and other routine duties. “We get a lot of calls for EFS checks after hours,” continues Tina. “EFS checks give drivers a way to pay for necessities while on the road like gas, tolls and food. We also take care of other basic requests from drivers but sometimes emergency situations come up. For example, we’ve been successful in finding lost trucks, recovering loads from drivers with truck failures, and helping update receivers when the rest of the world is asleep.”
What are the most common calls during evening hours? Surprisingly, the responses from different after-hours crews varied. For one team member, drivers often call just to check in, saying they have arrived at the shipper, or sometimes they need additional paperwork to get loaded. Another said drivers running late for delivery or pick up call to convey that information to the customer or receiver. The most common call, however, that everyone agrees on are calls dealing with lumper fees, especially for truckload shipments. (These are fees paid for workers to load or unload the contents of a trailer.)
Working the late shift in any industry has its pros and cons. It is easier to make doctor’s appointments and run personal errands during regular business hours when the rest of the world is working. It’s also faster to do your grocery shopping during the day instead of waiting for the weekend or evening when the stores are packed.
On the flip side, there can be issues with sleep deprivation. Trying to get used to sleeping during daylight hours can be tough if you’ve never done it before, so new employees may have to find other ways to get in their zzzzs.
One team member says she uses a sleeping mask. Another solves the problem by taking naps when her children are napping, stealing a few hours here and there. Popping in a movie so the sound drowns out the rest of the bustling household was the answer for another after-hours veteran. Some say they are pleasantly tired when they get off so sleeping when they get home isn’t an issue.
The knights of Choptank are a big part of what makes us a 3PL that shippers call first. We understand the value of providing peace of mind to our customers and how important accurate and timely communication is in this business. Whether you have truckload, LTL (enter our dry LTL sweepstakes), intermodal, cross-border or port shipments, you can get a quote today by contacting us at 800.568.2240 or ...