Lumper. It’s not a four-letter-word, but to many in logistics, a lumper fee is often times viewed in a negative light. A lumper fee is charged to the carrier when a shipper utilizes third-party workers to help load or unload the trailer contents. Lumpers are often used at food warehousing companies and grocery distributors. These fees are often reimbursable to the driver by the shipper or the freight broker.
Some receivers outsource to lumping services that are independent of their core business, especially in the grocery distribution business. Lumpers allow for truck drivers to catch up on rest and save energy for their driving, and can sometimes save time for drivers.
The “can sometimes save time for drivers” is viewed just like that – sometimes. If you read any trucker forums, you may find many truckers state they have run into headaches when choosing to use lumpers because the lumpers often do their restacking on the trailers, which can be rather time-consuming. However, if the truck drivers decide against using lumpers, they could find themselves trying to unload with hand-jacks and possibly taking additional time to learn their way around a new warehouse.
Many trucking companies do not want their drivers unloading freight unless it is part of their normal job duties. In order to keep their drivers well rested and ready for the road, trucking companies will choose to pay lumpers to unload freight rather than have their drivers expend energy or risk injury doing so. There’s no “industry standard” on this, some trucking companies won’t offer to pay their drivers additional money to unload freight to deter them from doing so, or others will offer to pay lumpers significantly more than they would their own drivers.
If there are truckers concerned when they go to unload their trailer, that lumper services will be focused upon them, there are protections under United States Law. Forcing a carrier to pay a service for unloading without reimbursement is illegal under Title 49 of the United States Code, § 14103. It says carriers should have the option to unload their own trucks, and if they are not given the option without being compensated for the lumper fee by the shipper or the receiver, then the law has been violated. If a driver is ever put in that particular situation, they should know that being coerced to pay out of pocket for lumper fees is prohibited.
If you are a carrier working with a third-party logistics company, or looking to become a carrier for one, ask if they cover lumper fees. Most freight brokers include this in their carrier payment. Just make sure the covering of the lumper’s bill is submitted right away to prevent any delays.
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