Using a truck or trailer as warehousing? Learn the key responsibilities of carriers and receivers.

Occasionally, we receive inquiries regarding the responsibility of cargo when a carrier drops the trailer in a receiver’s yard for later unloading. There may be several reasons for the drop, which should be understood and agreed to by both parties and documented if timelines exceed those set out in the DRC Transportation Standards, ARRIVAL AT DESTINATION, Section 9.3.f.

“… The truck is not to be used as a warehouse except by consent of the carrier and then only upon payment of warehousing charges as agreed to. Under the terms of the Corporation’s Trading Standards, the buyer’s responsibility to the seller requires that the buyer accept the produce within a reasonable time (8 hours after tender of delivery for trucks…”

Sometimes, when there are a lot of trailers to be unloaded or when the trailer arrives outside of business hours, buyers and receivers can come to an agreement with the carrier to leave the trailer at the receiver’s yard to be unloaded later.

It is important that carriers and receivers have a written agreement when they decide to leave a trailer at the receiver’s yard. This agreement should clarify the responsibilities of each party during the period when the trailer is left at the yard, including who is accountable for checking the trailer’s reefer unit to ensure it is working properly. A written agreement can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are aware of their obligations.

If no agreement is met between the parties regarding when the responsibility for cargo is transferred over from the carrier to the buyer, DRC members should be aware of DRC’s Transportation Standards such as:

  • Section 9.1. would set the tender of delivery: …“Tender of delivery” is said to have occurred when the carrier arrives at the receiver’s location at a reasonable or instructed hour to be unloaded and, when necessary, the carrier gives the receiver notice of the arrival. When the receiver is advised of arrival and instructs the operator to hold the load at a place commonly used for carriers whose unloading may be temporarily delayed, tender has taken place. The buyer’s timely complaints to the shipper and the computation of allowable unloading time are related to when “tender of delivery” has occurred.”
  • Section 9.2. provides for the receiver’s right of inspection: “Upon tender of delivery, the receiver has a right of inspection of the load. This right cannot properly be denied nor abridged by the carrier. Inspection is not conditional upon the prior payment of the freight charges.
    Should the receiver or carrier deem it advisable to secure an official inspection of the load, the cost of inspection is to be borne by whoever orders inspection. The inspector should be asked to note the pulp temperatures of the commodity inspected.”
  • Section 9.3. provides for unloading: “The normal transportation contract does not provide for the unloading of the truck. Lacking a specific agreement, it is the receiver’s responsibility to unload the conveyance. Unloading services are negotiable and the parties to the transportation contract can make alternative arrangements. The most common arrangement is with contractors commonly referred to as “lumpers”. A lumper is an entity that provides the physical loading and unloading of shipments at origin and destination with the use of people and equipment. The loading is from the facility of the consignor into the carrier equipment transporting the shipment from consignor’s premises and the unloading is from the carrier’s equipment into the receiving facility for a shipment at destination. Usually, a lumper is an independent contractor from the consignor or consignee or carrier.”.

Finally, if the truck or trailer is intended to be used as a temporary storage facility to hold the product and the parties disagree on a price per day for warehousing services, DRC Transportation Standards – Appendix VI can be used as a guideline to determine the charges.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Nicole MacDonald
Communications & Marketing Specialist
Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation
Telephone: 613-234-0982
Email: [email protected]

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