Today, we’ll discuss the concept of empty miles in truck dispatching and assess the optimal distance a client should travel to pick up a load.
Defining Empty Miles
Empty miles refer to the distance a client (trucking company) must travel from their current location to the shipper’s site to collect a load. This distance is crucial because it represents the stretch a client travels without compensation. Typically, motor carriers are compensated for the distance covered transporting cargo from the origin (point A) to the destination (point B).
For instance, if the journey from the shipper to the receiver spans 1,000 miles and the freight broker offers $3,000 for this load, the client effectively earns $3 per mile. However, if the truck must cover an additional 300 miles to reach the shipper, the total distance becomes 1,300 miles, effectively reducing the per-mile rate to $2.31.
Determining Acceptable Distances
While the mathematics of the situation is clear, it’s essential to discern what constitutes an acceptable distance for a client to travel to collect a load. Generally, a 50-mile radius from the client’s current location is deemed reasonable. If a suitable load is available within this range, it’s often advantageous for the client to proceed to the shipper, collect the load, and commence their journey.
However, challenges arise when a lucrative load is situated 200 miles away. In such cases, it’s vital to calculate the total distance, including the added 200 miles, to ascertain if the rate remains viable. While the financial aspect is paramount, it’s equally crucial to consider the associated risks of extended travel. For instance, a short 20-mile journey to a shipper that results in a canceled load might be a minor inconvenience. In contrast, a 200-mile trip that culminates in a canceled load can lead to significant time and fuel losses. Such scenarios underscore the importance of minimizing empty miles.