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How Relay Trucking Keeps Your Goods Moving: The Benefits of Non-Stop Transportation

Relay trucking, a non-stop transportation method utilizing multiple drivers, offers 40-70% faster delivery times and reduced delays. Learn how it enhances efficiency and saves costs for all stakeholders.

Last year, trucking companies around the world suffered a record deficit of truck drivers

Why? The reason is simple. Trucking no longer seems appealing to a more lifestyle-conscious generation of job hunters. Drivers have to contend with long, exhausting hours, sleepless nights, poor lifestyles, and separation from their loved ones for days or weeks on end. It is little wonder driver shortages persist in the trucking industry.

If the situation stays the same, the cost of long-haul truck driving, which is fundamental to everything we consume, from cereal to industrial goods, would become prohibitively expensive. Companies would pay a higher shipping price, and consumers would need to pay more for goods and services. 

Solving the truck driver shortage has not been easy. Perhaps, until now. 

In the past few months, relay or non-stop trucking has emerged as a brilliant way to boost driver retention and reduce long-haul transportation costs. 

In this article, we attempt to deconstruct relay trucking, its benefits, how it works, and why it’s considered the future of trucking.

What is relay trucking?

It is a type of long-haul trucking job that mirrors a relay race. Like a relay race, relay or non-stop trucking involves the use of multiple drivers as opposed to a solo driver to keep a truck moving continuously toward its destination. 

Unlike traditional trucking where a single driver manages the entire journey, relay trucking utilizes teams of drivers who take shifts, ensuring that the truck can travel non-stop sometimes for days on end.

As a result, relay trucking directly translates into cost savings, greater efficiency, and happier drivers. It offers a solution that keeps goods moving without unnecessary delays.

How does relay trucking work?

In relay trucking, extensive journeys are broken down into parts. Long-haul trips are divided into segments or relay points where two drivers change up. That is, a new driver takes over from the previous driver.

When one driver covers a set distance, they hand over the truck to another rested driver, who continues the journey. The first driver then gets rostered on a trip in the opposite direction back to the point of their origin. Through the relay model, the driver’s job fundamentally changes from an “away from home” job to a “day” job.

For example, say freight needs to move from Point A to Point D. John, the driver, starts the journey from A and drives for 200 km to reach Point B. At Point B, John would hand the truck to a well-rested Bob, who would drive another 200 km from Point B to Point C, where after another exchange, Ray would complete the final leg of the journey from Point C to D. Meanwhile, at Point B, John would get assigned to a truck making its way from Point B to A so that John can go back home after he gets to the final destination. 

Benefits of relay trucking

1. Faster Delivery Times

Relay trucking enables 40-70% faster delivery times compared to traditional methods. Steered by teams of drivers working in shifts, trucks can cover longer distances in less time. While the drivers get their well-deserved resting breaks, the freight continues to move as the wheels are taken over by drivers one after the other. This means that goods reach their destination faster, meeting tight deadlines and improving overall supply chain efficiency.

Reduced transit time also translates into reduced inventory requirements, working capital, and cash flows. This means that for the businesses, the overall logistics cost goes down, which can then be passed on to the customers, thus benefitting everyone in the economic chain. 

2. Reduced Risk of Delays

Delays in transportation can have ripple effects throughout the supply chain, impacting production schedules, inventory management, and customer relations. Non-stop or relay trucking minimizes the risk of delays by ensuring that trucks keep moving toward their destination without prolonged stops. 

Even during unforeseen circumstances such as traffic congestion or inclement weather, relay trucking allows for quick adjustments, with fresh drivers ready to take over the wheel and keep the journey on track. This reliability and predictability are crucial for businesses that depend on just-in-time delivery strategies to keep their operations running smoothly.

3. Reduced Idle Time and Emissions

Trucking relay systems minimize idle time during driver rest periods, leading to lower fuel consumption and emissions. This reduction contributes to improved air quality and environmental sustainability.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), long-haul trucks can idle up to 40% of their operating time, resulting in significant fuel consumption and emissions.

With non-stop trucking, fuel consumption, and emissions can be substantially reduced. 

Benefits of relay trucking


4. Improved Driver Well-being

Long hours of driving can take a toll on truck drivers, leading to fatigue and decreased productivity. 

Relay or non-stop trucking addresses this issue by allowing drivers to take breaks and rest while another driver takes over. More importantly, in relay trucking, the drivers go to their homes daily. Adequate rest and the fact that trucking more or less resembles a day job improves driver well-being and enhances safety on the road, reducing the risk of accidents due to driver fatigue.

5. Better Work Conditions

Another great benefit that relay truck drivers reap is not having to touch the freight, saving time they would have spent loading and unloading goods. 

This reduces the number of hours truck drivers have to work for or wait by a significant amount, thus allowing them longer times for rest and recovery.

6. Cost Savings

While relay trucking may require employing multiple drivers for each journey, the faster delivery times and reduced risk of delays can result in significant cost savings for all stakeholders involved. Shippers can save on inventory carrying costs, while receivers benefit from quicker access to goods, ultimately improving their bottom line.

Relay Trucking: The Future of Trucking

As the demand for faster and more efficient transportation continues to grow, relay trucking is poised to become the future of trucking. Advancements in technology, such as real-time tracking and communication systems, have made it easier to coordinate relay teams and optimize routes for maximum efficiency.

Moreover, regulatory changes aimed at reducing driver fatigue and improving road safety are driving the adoption of relay trucking as a preferred method of transportation. By leveraging the power of teamwork, relay trucking offers a sustainable solution that keeps goods moving seamlessly across long distances.

It is a win-win solution for all stakeholders involved in transporting goods. By maximizing efficiency, reducing delays, and prioritizing driver well-being, relay trucking is poised to shape the future of logistics. As businesses strive to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world, relay trucking stands out as a cost-effective and reliable transportation solution.

Relay Trucking with Baton

Companies such as Baton Trucking are actively implementing trucking relay systems. 

At Baton, we break down extensive journeys into manageable segments. From home terminals to the final destination. Each leg of the journey represents a distinct phase where our carriers take charge of the freight, ensuring a fluid transition and prompt delivery. Like in a relay race, efficiency, coordination, and teamwork form the backbone of our operations, allowing us to cover long distances flawlessly and deliver excellence with synchronized efforts.

By implementing trucking relay systems and fostering industry-wide collaboration, Baton Trucking Solutions has made significant strides toward reducing emissions, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing driver well-being. These systems offer a practical and effective solution for businesses to minimize truck idle time, optimize freight transportation, and move closer to a greener and more sustainable future.
To know more, you can get in touch with Baton here.