Dry Pickup Runs and Trailer Ordered, Not Used (TONU)
You probably know that a driver showing up for a pickup only to find that the freight is not available can be an expensive proposition for a carrier. This is particularly true with today’s tight capacity, as the driver could have been picking up an actual revenue-generating shipment instead.
Most LTL carriers have a fee for these dry runs, commonly referred to as TONU in both the LTL and TL industry. They typically have costs in the $50 - $100 range for LTL, higher for TL. And we know of one LTL Partner who will also assess their California Surcharge and Fuel Surcharge when they apply the TONU charge. Our LTL partners tell us that the vast majority of the dry runs involve 3PL business. This of course is because the 3PL initiating the pickup request, and may not know exactly when the shipper will have the freight ready.
We should expect LTL partners to become more vigilant in assessing this type of fee. LTL carriers assess fees like TONUE not so much to recover their costs, but to force behavior that prevents these situations from arising.
So do what you can to prevent dry pickup runs. Eliminating these costly activities allows carriers to operate more efficiently, and prevents a costly fee from arising.