Drop and Pick

Drop and Pick: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you have any questions about drop and pick, you find the answer right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Drop and Pick Meaning in Logistics?

Drop and pick process

 drop and pick process

Drop and pick is when truck driver delivers a full container at a warehouse and leaves with a different empty container.

Also known as drop and hook, it is a common logistics practice with large volume full container load.

How does Drop and Pick Work?

Drop and pick starts when a truck driver delivers a full container to a warehouse for unloading process.

Once the container is offloaded, the driver then proceed to pick up a different empty container before departing.

Drop and pick can also involve dropping empty container and leaving with a full container at the same time.

Generally, drop and pick process involves container exchange in both cases.

Offloading containers

 Offloading container

When is a Drop and Pick Necessary?

Drop and pick services is mostly necessary for large shipper companies which receive high number of freight deliveries.

This option gives them time to unload and load cargo.

It also saves them money that would otherwise be spent when live loading or unloading.

What is the Benefit of a Drop and Pick?

Drop and pick process is preferred when it comes to high-volume delivery logistics because it is less costly and efficient.

It allows both shippers and carriers to plan for their delivery and shipping process seamlessly.

Benefits to Shippers

Minimal Labor Requirement

In drop and pick logistics, shippers have enough time to load and unload a container at their warehouse. Therefore, they do not need to hire extra casual labor to assist with the process.

This is totally opposite in the case of live loading/unloading which needs more casual labor force to speed up the process.

Otherwise, the shipper will incur hourly detention charges for every extra time spent by trucker at the warehouse.

Saves Time

Time is saved because the truck driver drop offs the container and immediately picks up a ready different empty container.

This is unlike live loading and unloading which wastes truck drivers’ time as they wait for the processes to be completed.

Highly Flexible

Drop and pick option offers shippers’ flexibility with shipping and delivery schedule.

This is because they are able to load and unload containers in advance before the truck drivers arrive.

The truck driver only needs to arrive, offload the container and collect the empty one before leaving without scheduling delivery appointments.

Shippers who do not prefer drop and pick are forced to coordinate with carriers on delivery and pickup schedule.

This comes with strict conditions such as limited turnaround time, detention fee, etc.

Shippers are more likely to pay the extra charges due to unforeseen circumstances such as poor weather conditions and breakdowns.

Failure by the shipper to release the driver and containers within the allowed free time also attract penalty.

Benefits to Carrier

Less time wastage is equally beneficial to carriers as they are able to make several drop and pick trips.

Secondly, truck drivers spend less time at the loading and unloading points and more time on the road. This increases their earning potential as they are paid by the mile and not at the loading dock.

Additionally, the flexibility allows drivers to schedule drop and pick up times that are convenient for them.

They can choose early mornings or late evening and at night when traffic not heavy.

What is the Difference Between a Drop and a Drop and Pick?

In a drop the truck driver drops off a container at a warehouse for unloading and return to pick it up later.

In a drop and pick, the driver drops off a loaded container and collects a different empty container before leaving.

A drop is more costly because the truck driver makes two trips for the same container.

In drop and pick, the truck drivers make one complete trip hence it is cheaper.

There’s likelihood to incur detention cost in drop when the shipper does not unload the container within the free time.

Drop and pick saves shipper container detention cost since they have a readily available empty container for return.

Is Drop and Pick Service only Large Shippers?

Large shippers have enough facility space that allows truck to come in through one gate and exit through another.

This is because they have different dock doors designated for drop off and pickup hence avoiding congestion at one point.

Additionally, large shippers have storage yards that can be used to store loaded and empty trailers as they await pickup.

What is the Difference Between a ‘Drop and Pick’ and ‘Drop Pull Transportation’?

Drop and pick is delivery of a full container to your loading yard and picking a different empty one before departure.

Drop and pull transportation is whereby a tractor drops a trailer in a loading area and unloads it.

It reduces the cargo handling time, hence saving time and energy that would have been used.

Drop and pull involves a tractor and a trailer whereas drop and pick utilizes a truck.

The tractor and trailer are flexible and can be combined or separated as and when required.

Drop and pull transportation combines the use of data in its operations such as RFID, IOT, GPS in its management system.

This is not necessary in drop and picks process.

How Much Does a Container Drop and Pick Cost?

The cost of a drop and pick is calculated based on the distance covered by the trucker and container type.

The further the shipper location is from the port the higher the fee.

When using specialized containers such as reefers, the cost also goes up as compared to standard containers.

This option is however cheaper than live loading and unloading and drop services.

Which is better between Drop and Pick and Live Unload?

 Live load

live unload.

A drop and pick works well when you have containers being delivered after every few days.

This allows you time to unload your container and leave it empty for the next drop and pick cycle.

Live unload is whereby the truck driver drops off a loaded container and waits till it is unloaded to leave with it.

Logistics company offer free unloading time, beyond which an hourly rate is charged for every hour spent at your warehouse.

This makes a drop and pick option better and less expensive between the two.

How Do I Choose a Quality Drop and Pick up Service?

Since drop and pick is a grab and go process involving container exchange, quality service is key for a smooth process.

Research for drop and pick service provider companies and select a number of them.

Contact the shortlisted companies and request for a drop and pick quotation for your consideration.

Check all the listed services that the company covers on the drop and ship and terms of engagement.

Select a quote that covers most of the items that your cargo needs.

Additionally, find out about their equipment capacity as this will determine their ability to handle drop and pick.

If you are a large shipper and will need several deliveries within a short time, ensure the provider has the capacity.

This will avoid delays due to trailer shortage.

Quality drop and pick also relies on skilled drivers, request to see driver qualification if need be.

Is Drop and Pick Any Different from Drop and Hook Trucking?


Drop and pick is also known as drop and hook in the trucking industry.

It is one of the most efficient freight delivery processes in shipping.

The driver simply drops the loaded container and hooks on a different trailer with an empty container then leaves.

This saves time for both parties, reduce cost for shipper and increase earning potential for carrier.

What are the challenges of Drop and Pick Service?

Drop and pick is one of the preferred shipping program by large shipper due to its efficiency and cost.

However, this service is not devoid of challenges just like any other delivery and pickup services.

One of the major challenges faced in drop and pick services is the availability of skilled truck drivers.

Trucks ferrying containers are long and heavy therefore, they need skilled and competent drivers to operate them especially at the loading points.

Aligning fifth wheel and kingpin can be a challenge to new drivers however, with practice they can get it right.

Drop and pick requires carriers to have more than one trailer at shipper’s facility at any given time.

This is because the driver just needs to drop off loaded container and move to pick up a different empty container.

The cost of trailer fleet is very high and need high financial commitment from the carrier in order to be efficient.

Some shippers have smaller facilities that make it hard to have all containers ready for pick up easily accessible.

As a result, a loaded or empty trailer awaiting pickup maybe at the furthest end when the truck arrives.

This forces the shipper to find other ways to move it to the front which is usually at an extra cost.

Are there Container Restrictions in relation to Drop and Pick Services?

Before using containers in drop and pick, there are certain factors to consider with regards to container weight measurement limits.

Dry cargo use a 20-foot or 40-foot standard containers while cold chain cargo are ferried in reefers of the same size.

Three weight measurements that must be considered for every container in drop and pick services are rating tear mass and payload.

These measurements are usually indicated on the container walls at the door ends.

Rating weight is maximum allowed container weight together with its content.

A 20-foot container has a rating of 24,000kg while a 40-foot has 30, 480kg.

Tear mass is the container weight when empty.

This varies from one container to another depending on the construction material and technique used.

Generally, reefers have higher tear mass weight than dry cargo containers of the same dimensions.

A 20-foot by 8.5-foot weighs somewhere between 1,800 kg to 2,400 kg, 40-foot by 8.5-foot weighs between 2,800kg and 4,000kg.

High cube 40-foot dry container; 40-foot by 9.5-foot weighs between 3,900kg and 4,200kg.

The third weight to look into is the payload weight, this is the maximum permitted weight of container contents including Dunn age.

To calculate payload, you subtract rating weight form the tear mass weight (Payload=Rating-Tear Mass).

For example:

A 20-foot container with a tear mass of 2,400kg will have a payload of 21,600kg; (24,000kg-2,400kg=21,600kg).

The weight are important because they will determine if your cargo will allowed entry through a cargo terminal and use certain roads.

If the container surpasses the payload weight, you may be forced to offload your cargo, repackage, store or even drayage.

This will negatively affect your shipping cost.

Also, certain countries or even cities within the same country have rating weight limit.

It is therefore crucial to understand weight regulations for containers for different regions when drop and picking.

Do I need any Special Documentation for a Container Drop and Pick?

Before delivery is done by drop and pick, the cargo must have the following documents accompanying it:

Bill of Lading

 Bill of lading

Bill of lading

This is a legal contract document between the shipper, carrier and the freight forwarding company.

It highlights the mode of transportation used in shipping and the routes to use.

Shipping cannot happen without this document and it must be stamped and signed by relevant parties.

Different types of bill of lading exist depending on the mode of shipping.

Packing List

This is a slip showing what is in the container, their weight dimensions, size, quantity etc.

It also contains the shipper’s address where the goods are to be delivered as well as their origin address.

Packing list

Packing list

Goods Insurance Certificate

This is very important to both parties. It shows if cargo is insured and the terms of cargo insurance, who takes liabilities, cost of goods insured, etc.

Goods on transit at are high risk of being damaged or stolen therefore, to mitigate such risk insurance is needed.

Commercial Invoice

Commercial invoice

Commercial invoice

It is a proof of sale between seller and the buyer (shipper) in this case.

This is needed as it allows shipper to know what items being shipped.

Customs Clearance

This is needed for goods to be allowed across any borders within or outside the country of shipping.

It shows that the cargo is compliant with the set customs regulation.

How do I Ensure Safety of Goods during Container Drop and Pick?

Insuring goods against damage or theft or loss, etc. all through the shipping process.

Having an insurance cover against your cargo will give you a piece of mind in case of any eventualities.

Installation of security cameras at the loading facility in designated areas and ensuring strict visitation policy to the premise.

This will deter fraudulent pick up from unknown drivers posing as carrier drivers.

Have trucking services that enables you to have freight visibility from end to end.

Truckers are fitted with GPS systems that enable the shipper and the carrier to monitor driver movement at all times.

The carrier can install a remote vehicle disabling system on trucks on transit and switch it off in case of tampering attempt.

Additionally, shippers can have their goods tagged using RFID technology which can be integrated to their supply chain management system.

A RFID system offers cargo visibility at all times from anywhere as long as you are logged in the system.

Another way of ensuring security is by carriers having details of all their truck drivers together with their photo per truck.

This information is then shared with the shipper in advance so that they have a record of the driver beforehand.

Do Carriers Assume Shipment Liability during Drop and Pick Services?

Carriers do take insurance cover for goods in transit.

This is because they offer the drop and pick services and the shipment liability lies with them.

They are absolved of any liability upon delivery of the cargo.

Does Cargo Insurance Cover Shipments during Container Drop?

Shipper can request for an insurance cover for cargo during drop to mitigate the risks of damage and theft.

Strict terms and conditions are spelt out due to the increased risk factor.

What are the Common Container Specifications for Drop and Pick?

Different types of containers are available for use depending on the type of cargo being dropped and picked.

The containers are available in 20-foot, 40-foot and 40-foot high sizes, therefore, you choose a container that suits your goods.

The most common container specifications available include:

  1. General purpose (standard) container
  2. Flat rack
  3. Refrigerated containers (reefers)
  4. Open top container
  5. Double door containers
  6. Insulated containers
  7. Open side containers
  8. Tank containers
  9. High cube container
  10. Half-height containers

What help do Freight Forwarders offer in relation to Container Drop and Pick?

Freight forwarders can assist shippers to plan drop and pick up in case they do not understand how it works.

They will help you with all the cargo handling and paper work.

These may include packing, supervising loading/unloading, warehousing, and customs clearance, amongst others.

How can I find reliable Freight Forwarder for my Shipment Delivery?

There are several ways of searching for reliable freight forwarding companies such as:

  • Through referrals.
  • Online searches and visiting their websites.
  • Listed freight forwarding companies through directories.
  • Company posters at the terminal ports, airport, train station or sea port.

At BanSar, we will help you with all your shipping services from China.

Contact us today for all your freight forwarding needs from China.

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