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Dray Alliance Empowers Truck Drivers with Tools to Combat ‘Forced Dispatch’

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Dray Alliance Empowers Truck Drivers with Tools to Combat ‘Forced Dispatch’

Dray Alliance today addressed how the issue of “forced dispatch” on the quality of life and safety of contract drivers can be avoided with self-dispatch technology capabilities. Forced dispatch – a tool utilized by dispatchers to insist pickups onto drivers despite pushback due to fatigue, driving conditions and more- has created safety and driver retention issues that further backward practices that add to port backlogs.

This issue was illustrated within an April 3 episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in a deep dive segment on the U.S. Trucking Industry:

“…when these rigid rules bump up against unpredictable work hours, drivers are put in an impossible position. Take this driver, whose company made him take his ten-hour break during the day, when he couldn’t sleep, and then found himself driving exhausted at night. And when he called his dispatcher to say he felt unsafe to drive, just watch how badly the call went:”

“While a lot has been made about a driver shortage issue, it is really a driver retention issue that continues plaguing our trucking industry,” said Steve Wen, Co-Founder, and CEO, Dray Alliance. “In our experience working with contract truckers, we have seen the impacts forced dispatch has put on their ability and willingness to work, as they feel their next load won’t come unless they bend to the whim of the dispatcher. And, not only does forced dispatch put drivers at risk of burning out, but also in extraordinarily dangerous situations where they’re operating several tons of machinery.”

Whereas jobs are typically given out from a dispatch center and dispatcher, Dray Alliance provides drivers an opportunity to be their own dispatchers: displaying loads ready for pickup on the company’s app and then allowing drivers to select the load at their discretion. Rates for these loads are completely transparent and drivers are fully aware of what they will make from a given pickup, compared to negotiated rates through typical dispatch methods.

“Being able to select loads at the push of a button rather than having loads pushed upon me has created a great sense of freedom for me to perform my job,” added Tony Chilton, a contract driver who works regularly with Dray Alliance. “I don’t feel the pressure that my livelihood is on the line or my next job won’t be fairly given if I don’t cooperate with pushy dispatchers. I can work a schedule that is fair and safe to me and other drivers I share the road with.”

Dray Alliance also provides drivers with quick and free access to money earned from loads selected and picked up through the app. This is yet another departure from standard dispatch methods that take a portion of earnings off the top as a form of factoring.

A recent FreightWaves article points to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the record number of coercion complaints received from drivers in the first 14 weeks of 2022. A total of 492 complaints were filed with the government body’s National Consumer Complaint Database over that timeframe. If complaints continue at this pace, 2022 will see over 1,800 total complaints reported, the highest since FMCSA began tracking the stat in 2016 and more than doubling 2021’s totals.

“Without truck drivers, our supply chains would move slower than they already are, as we are seeing the ramifications of shortages now,” continued Wen. “Trucks move roughly 73% of our country’s freight by weight, and if these drivers aren’t appreciated and supplied with the tools necessary to succeed we will not only see continued retention issues, but also continued safety concerns on the road.”

demurrage The Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) has approved the concession of a space in the Port of Sagunto to ZELEROS to carry out a pilot for its hyperloop transport system.

Shippers Paid More Than $114M in Demurrage Fees in Feb and March 2022

National demurrage fees continue to climb as shippers search for capacity

Dray Alliance today released an outlook for April based on the activity within its container trucking platform from Feb-March 2022. Dray Alliance findings reflect the impact of the continued port disruptions and demurrage fees being incurred by shippers with containers sitting at the ports.

The demurrage issue has become a financial burden to those who have containers sitting at ports, particularly the Port of Los Angeles. Detention and demurrage penalties have soared since the start of the pandemic and as further supply chain disruptions have hit. According to Dray Alliance, drayage carriers have been turned away from picking up loaded imported containers because of unpaid demurrage charges — a major contributor to delays and slowdowns.

“Containers keep sitting at ports, and demurrage fees keep tallying up, not by choice but by the difficulty of how to retrieve them. This has caused a financial burden to all of those in the industry,” said Steve Wen, Co-Founder, and CEO, Dray Alliance. “In our experience working with the Port of Los Angeles, we have seen how data confirms the penalties being paid due to demurrage fees. These, added to the lack of truckers and ways to distribute cargo, are a continued contributor to port backlogs.”

A Forbes article cited The American Trucking Association, who reported that this sector is headed for a shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2030. Additionally they estimate the need for one million new drivers over the next 10 years. While container volume has increased to record highs, truck driver capacity has not matched the growth, resulting in appointment slots remaining finite, leading to an increase in demurrage penalties. As the March data shows, for all of the containers currently discharged at the Port of Los Angeles, 41% are incurring demurrage, meaning a total of 25,258 out of the 61,944 shipments are past due over five days after discharge.

“The carriers view these penalties – whether right or wrong – as a profitable part of their business,” said Brian Glick, CEO and founder of, a systems integration platform that works closely with shippers and freight forwarders.

“So even if the Ocean Shipping Reform Act passes, they’ll become compliant with the law, but won’t work against their own self-interest. They’re a for-profit entity, and it’s hard to envision them willingly sacrificing a profitable part of their business for what’s perceived to be a moving target of playing fair,” he added, in a recent Supply Chain Management Review article.

Dray Alliance data from February 2022:

  • Average time from discharge to outgate was 5.8 days. Assuming four free days at the terminal, that’s 1.8 days of demurrage per shipment on average.

  • Depending on the terminal, the charges for one day of demurrage are anywhere from $175-$225/day; which escalated over time and equaled an average of $168.75 per day

  • During this month, the Port of Los Angeles moved 424,072.85 TEUs of loaded imports (212,036 feet).

  • Using this metric as the total number of containers, shippers paid $71.56M in demurrage fees through POLA in February 2022.

Dray Alliance data from March 2022:

  • Average time for discharge was 4.9 days, assuming four free days at the terminal, that’s 0.9 days of demurrage per shipment on average.

  • Utilizing a daily demurrage rate of $187.50, the average March shipment through the Port of Los Angeles incurred an additional $337.50 worth of demurrage.

  • In March, the Port of Los Angeles moved 509,953 TEUs of loaded imports (254,977 FEUs).

  • Using FEU’ s as the total number of containers, shippers paid $43.03M in demurrage fees through POLA in March 2022.

Headquartered near the Port of Long Beach, the Dray Alliance platform provides complete container management, including automated status notifications, real-time GPS tracking and document management and analytics for every container. In December 2021, Dray Alliance completed a $40M Series B round led by global venture capital group Headline.

About Dray Alliance

Dray Alliance is a venture-backed startup that is focused on building a container trucking platform to deliver shipping containers from ports to warehouses. Its technology connects container shippers with a network of vetted truck drivers through a mobile app. By leveraging API integrations with the ports and data from the mobile app, Dray Alliance’s platform allows container shippers to manage and track all container deliveries in a single web portal and make truckers more efficient. The company has raised a total of $55M in venture capital and working capital financing, and is already working with over one hundred enterprise customers, delivering thousands of containers a month. Steve Wen is the Co-founder and CEO of Dray Alliance, and was named to Forbes’ 2022 30 under 30 list. Please visit for more information.