Driver Wait Times at Major U.S. Airports

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Air cargo is a major part of the international supply chain, accounting for roughly 35 percent of the world’s trade by value. In 2019 alone, air cargo in the U.S. traveled nearly 80 billion ton-miles. Shipping cargo via air is often preferable due to its days-long time frame, rather than the weeks- or months-long time frames you may experience moving cargo by ocean or rail.

All of this movement in and out of American airports puts significant strain on the port’s infrastructure and resources. For example, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport experienced significant driver pick-up and drop-off delays throughout 2018, crediting overcrowded intra-airport roads, poor dock-door management, and understaffed ground handlers. Drivers at some airports wait more than 90 minutes to pick up or drop off their loads!

A driver’s time spent waiting at a port can pose a significant loss, leading to wait time surcharges. Most carriers offer 30 minutes of free wait time, with charges for every hour after ranging from $30-80/hour.

Wait times are recognized as an issue across the industry, and many airports are investing in infrastructure improvements and advanced technologies in an effort to reduce them.

Check out our infographic below depicting the airports with the longest wait times in the U.S.

David Usher

David Usher

We work closely with our carriers and partners to provide our clients with the fairest rates and best service and will do our best to mitigate surcharges where possible. Even as such, we anticipate airport congestions and wait time surcharges to continue throughout 2020.

If you have questions, please reach out to David Usher from our agent pricing department at or (800) 493-9444.

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