What is TONU in trucking?

March 21, 2023

Even with the best planning, things can go wrong — and that’s especially true in the trucking industry. Delays and changes in schedules for shipments are common occurrences. But, what do you do if you arrive for a shipment and there’s a cancellation?

Keep reading to learn more about TONU, including what this means and how to prevent load cancellations from impacting your business.

What does TONU mean?

TONU stands for Truck Order Not Used and can happen when you or one of your drivers are prepared to pick up a load (or even show up to do so) and the shipment isn’t there.

TONU can happen for multiple reasons, including if:

  • The shipment is canceled last minute
  • The load isn’t ready
  • The shipper ordered the wrong equipment or truck

TONU can be frustrating because you already committed the time and resources to pick up the load. You or your driver may have even driven several miles or idled at the pick-up location before finding out the shipper canceled the load. In addition, TONU can take up to half of a working day and may mean that an otherwise profitable day can go to waste.

What is a TONU fee?

A TONU fee is a charge that the shipper pays in the event of a last-minute cancellation. These fees are meant to help you recoup some of your losses from the canceled load. TONU fees are typically $150 for a dry van and can go up to $300 for a reefer. They are usually charged within four hours of the intended pick-up time or when the order is cancelled.

How is TONU different from a layover or detention?

While TONU means that the order is completely cancelled, issues such as layovers and detention occur when the load is delayed. A layover happens when a shipper or receiver delays you or your driver for one or more days. Detention happens when a truck has been at the pick-up or delivery warehouse longer than the time previously set out in the contract.

How can you avoid TONU?

Delays and cancellations are bound to happen sometimes, but there are several things you can do to avoid TONU and ensure a smoother process for you or your drivers.

  1. Plan ahead: Set your pick-up and delivery date in advance and make sure that all stakeholders, like your broker, shipper, and receiver, are on the same page. Planning will minimize the risk of cancellation or an amended trucking order.
  2. Communicate early and often: Establish communication early and often with your broker and shipper. Make sure you know any possible date changes, constraints, or other issues that can cause a cancellation. Keeping the lines of communication open will help you plan your routes and make adjustments as needed.
  3. Protect yourself: Draft clear policies for TONU in your contracts to avoid conflicts on payment, rates, timelines, and conditions. Ensure that all stakeholders are aware of these policies and on the same page.

It is helpful to develop a structured process for arranging for pick-ups with your shipper. The more transparent and proactive the planning and communication are, the better the working relationship with your shipper will be.

Manage TONU with SmartHop’s Stress Free Guarantee

Even with proper planning, TONU charges can be difficult to receive or take time for the shipping company to pay. At SmartHop, we understand how challenging this can be. That’s why we’re here to help minimize the stress of dealing with TONU and help you recover costs fast.

Request a demo today

See how SmartHop can help you maximize your profit potential with every trip to build a healthier trucking business.

Request a demo