“Secure parking space, observe time windows, settle your obligations,” advises the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), which has published a guide that aims to solve the age-old problems when loading and unloading lorries. In addition, DIHK expects that the golden rules will help to fight the lack of drivers.
Problems on the ramps are known to drivers and carriers, not from today. They cost time, money and a lot of stress. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry claims they are the reason for the lack of staff in the transport industry and sees the need to regulate the issue of unloading and loading. Therefore, DIHK decided to create 9 “golden rules”, which are to change the situation on the ramps in Germany. They were created on the basis of inputs gathered from entities from various industries interested in creating a guide.
The result (guide) is a good example of how we, as an economy, can work together to balance different industry and corporate interests,” stated Achim Dercks, deputy general director of DIHK.
DIHK will send the guide to all 79 chambers of commerce and industry in Germany to inform all its members about the new rules.
Daily frustrations at the ramp can be eliminated to a large extent thanks to the goodwill of all involved. Therefore, when looking for solutions, we involved not only the logistics industry but above all also the trade sector,” said Dercks.
Deputy director of DIHK also stressed that the rules developed by the Chamber, in practice, benefit all involved parties: forwarders, recipients, carriers, drivers and the environment.
Thanks to them, stopovers can be shortened, which will improve planning. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the working time of drivers, who find waiting on the ramp very frustrating,” added Dercks.
Deputy Director of DIHK also underlines the importance of mutual respect.
“Not only goods delivered by drivers, but also drivers themselves should be welcome on the ramp, “added Dercks. This rule, in his opinion, may increase the attractiveness of the profession.
The golden rules of DIHK
Smooth operations on loading ramps and cooperation will reduce downtime and increase the predictability of traffic. These benefit shippers, recipients and transport companies alike. They facilitate the work of professional drivers as well as personnel on ramps. This, in turn, will increase the attractiveness of jobs in logistics, and thus contribute to reducing the shortage of drivers.
Rule 1: Provide sufficient performance on loading ramps
Load capacity must be sufficient on loading ramps. This applies to both the ramp and the warehouse, equipment and personnel. Appropriate construction solutions should also be created for efficient operation. These include, in particular, the appropriate dimensions of ramps, canopies, etc.
Rule 2: Sufficient parking space to wait
Parking lots and a place to wait for unloading should have sufficient space. Due to the lack of parking spaces for trucks, the driver should also be able to spend rest periods there before loading or after loading. If a driver who is waiting to unload gets a signal by radio that the ramp is ready, the vehicle can be called up at any time and unnecessary routes to the handling office are avoided.
Rule 3: Ensure a sufficient number of ramp opening hours
The ramp opening time should be long enough and allow transport companies to plan routes without downtime. It should be adapted to the needs, in particular at peak seasons and before Christmas, ie during periods of increased number of deliveries.
Rule 4: Follow the agreed time slots
Agreed time windows should be treated as binding by both senders, carriers and recipients. It should be remembered that failure to comply with time windows in transport companies and trade leads to increased costs. In the case of delays, e.g. caused by a traffic jam, the flow of information should be accelerated to flexibly adjust the time windows. This will also reduce the waiting time for vehicles that arrive too early or too late. The most desirable time windows should not be sold.
Rule 5: Improve the flow of information
Use modern information and communication technologies as well as Big Data to inform partners about changes or disruptions as quickly as possible and to improve data flow regarding unloading times and loads and goods. This includes, for example, time management systems, notification procedures, truck search systems, digital vehicle management and electronic control of incoming goods. The optimal solution would be to process telematic data in real time.
Rule 6: Ensure delivery of interchangeable pallets
Interchangeable pallets should be available and transferred to loading ramps in the right number and quality.
Rule 7: Clearly settle the responsibility for loading and unloading
Loading and unloading, as well as accompanying processes such as removing foils or separating “sandwich” pallets, are not the responsibility of the driver. Uncertainty as to this leads to conflicts and misunderstandings. However, these processes should be regulated in a clear and binding manner. The question of responsibility for safe transport should also be clarified.
Rule 8: Improve relationships
The driver and the loading ramp staff should be treated with due respect. Drivers should have access to sanitary facilities and social rooms, which should be available in sufficient numbers and quality. For their part, drivers should try to use these rooms properly.
Rule 9: Improve language proficiency among drivers and staff on ramps
Lack of language skills leads to misunderstandings, as well as delays and dangerous situations in the loading zones. All parties involved should try to improve the language skills of those working on the ramp. It should be possible to communicate in German or at least in English. You can also use auxiliary pictograms.
And what do you think and the principles proposed by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry? Will they help solve problems with unloading and loading on ramps?