I arrived at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Dallas off I-20, hoping to deliver sometime Sunday morning. I waited in the long line of trucks that snaked all the way out to Frontage Road. How could this be? Was I even n the right line? I parked my truck and bolted by 30+ trucks to check in at the guard shack.
“What’s your ASA number?” the guard asked.
I scanned the BOL, couldn’t find it and called my broker who immediately texted it to me.
“You’re six days early. You don’t deliver until Sat, June 5th,” said the guard.
I drove straight to the nearby Pilot and waited until my broker could sort things out. Luckily, they rescheduled for after Memorial Day.
On Tuesday, I arrived on Frontage Road at 3pm, nine hours before my appointment time. Once again, I darted by the line of trucks to check in with security.
“You’re good for midnight tonight. You’re welcome to get in line, just don’t be on Amazon property any earlier than three hours prior, or we might ask you leave and go to the back of the line.”
I stayed out on the road and let a few trucks go past me. Then 6 hours before appointment time, I entered Amazon’s driveway, hoping the line would move quickly. It did not. A convoy of Amazon trucks and bobtails picking up loads drove in, and they would be taking up valuable dock space.
The line moved at a snail’s pace of about one-hour per truck. I tried to steal a nap here and there, but really couldn’t get any sleep. Not when I had to stay half awake so that I could move up whenever the line crawled along.
Then I heard some commotion. A truck got out of the line and tried to cut in. There was bickering and hollering, and I truly hoped that the trucker was not experiencing an emergency.
It wasn’t until 3:30am when I was finally given a door. I dropped the trailer, then bobtailed out on the street until I got the call that the trailer was offloaded. Thankfully I was able to get some good sleep because they didn’t call me until 9am.
My second visit to Amazon for this load took 18 hours from getting in line to picking up empty.
The moral of the story here is that you don’t always go with the lowest bidder. This is not an Amazon load. The Big A is a behemoth who don’t care about the little guys. If it’s not a load going to Amazon’s customers, they likely will get deprioritized. The customer chose to rent out Amazon’s dock and warehouse probably because they got the cheapest price. But in the long run, they’re paying for it in time and lost wages.
Also, it appears this load is double brokered. That’s because the broker who I’m speaking to is not talking to Amazon directly. They’re talking to another party, the so called Customer (who is likely the other broker). The agent should have direct communications with both the shipper and receiver as well as remain very familiar with the layout, wait times and possibility of detention. In this case, the broker was oblivious.
Lastly, I blame Amazon for running such an atrocious operation. The Dallas fulfillment center is not huge in the first place. Clearly, Amazon has booked way more loads than they can handle. Doing so, means trucks have to park out on the street, resulting in a hazard to themselves and others, or even a ticket from the Dallas police. There’s an easy solution to this problem – just reduce the number of bookings. Say no to non-Amazon loads and diverting more loads to other fulfillment centers in Texas and across the country.