Navigating through Trucking Issues

Let’s face it, there are a lot of times in the scrap plastic trading business where things don’t go as planned.  One of the variables that causes the most obstacles to efficient scrap plastic recycling deals is trucking and logistics.

Over the last five years, BlackBridge has seen it all when it comes to trucking issues:

  • Trucks don’t show up on time, or at all
  • Trucks break down
  • Drivers refuse to load because of the type of material
  • Drivers do not want to “load heavy”
  • Drivers don’t show up with the proper paperwork
  • Drivers blow the double blind paperwork

When any of these issues happen, the BlackBridge team finds it critical to first identify the issue in detail with your supplier, as they are the ones who matter most. This pain point arises from the fact that most warehouses and suppliers have a small window to load a truck before another one arrives for the next delivery appointment. Remember, the clock is ticking to figure out the issue from the second the phone rings.

The BlackBridge team prides themselves on staying calm in these situations. We always inform the supplier about the scenario with full transparency, because as brokers, we are problem-solvers.  You want to make sure you fully understand the problem, so you don’t have to call multiple times with follow-up questions. The last thing a busy supplier needs is to discuss the problem more than once. As a broker, you’re only one of their customers, so their time is extremely valuable. When asking questions, be sure to have follow-up questions with a clear purpose of understanding what is causing the issue and what a good resolution would look like in the eyes of your supplier.

Once the issue is properly identified, be sure to tell the supplier that you apologize and that you and your team are working on resolving the problem as fast as possible. The next phone call is to your logistics company to clearly explain the issue in a way that creates a sense of urgency. Remember, your logistics company works for you in this transaction, and your satisfaction is paramount. Don’t be afraid to push hard to get this resolved to your satisfaction, because your business’s reputation is everything. A good logistics company will want to make sure the issue is resolved to the best of their ability, as they know repeat business depends on it. It often helps to have the logistics company rep explain the problem back to you in their own words, as this enables you to confirm that you did a good job articulating the situation, and make sure you are both on the same page. Before you hang up the phone with the carrier, it is best practice to set a reasonable time limit of how long before you expect to hear back from the carrier with a resolution. Setting expectations creates a sense of urgency that they will want to meet. Personally, I usually give the carrier 15-30 minutes to figure out what is going on before I follow up for an update.

While your carrier works out the issue with his driver, you will want to let your supplier know that matters are being resolved and to stand by. This step is important because it shows that communication is part of your problem solving, and also lets you check to see if anything has changed on your supplier’s end of the deal since your initial call.

Ideally the next step would be resolution. Once the issue is resolved, it is best practice for your carrier to explain the scenario to your supplier and personally apologize for any inconvenience. Finally, once the matter is resolved, a call to your supplier needs to be made in order to make sure that everything is handled to their satisfaction.

Hopefully this advice will help you navigate through the next logistics issue that comes up on your scrap plastic shipments. Remember: it’s all about communication, managing expectations, and following up – often your carrier will be eager to get the situation fixed quickly, and if you approach it in a spirit of patience and problem-solving, everyone will be more likely to resolve the issues in a mutually beneficial manner.

If you have any other questions on best practices in scrap plastic logistics, or have a similar experience that you want to share, please email us at