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docking area

How to determine the size of the docking area?

How do you estimate the docking area size?

Imagine this scenario. The inbound team has been raising the issue repeatedly that the docking space/staging area is insufficient. Whenever the inbound trucks arrive, the entire inbound area will be literally flooded with pallets, pending for inspection before putaway.

How are you going to access this situation and confirm that the situation is indeed as per described by the operations?

  1. By actual observation of the area during the unloading processes of the trucks.
  2. By using numbers and figures to back up the concern.




There is an indicative method to calculate the space required and this will be shown below.

  1. We need to get some information prior to the calculation
    • Number of inbound trucks per day
    • Size of the inventory per truck (in terms of pallets)
    • Width and depth of the pallets
    • Time to unload the pallets from the trucks
    • Duration of pallets left at the staging area for inspection prior to putaway
    • Work shift for the day (for the inbound team)
  2. Calculation is as below
    • Docking Area required = Roundup[(Number of trucks received * Hours per load) / length of work shift] * (size of inventory * space occupied per pallet)


  1. Input factors
    • 20 inbound trucks per day
    • 26 pallets per truck unloaded
    • Dimension of pallets to be 1m width and 1.2m deep
    • 45 minutes to unload a pallet from the truck
    • 30 minutes to complete inspection at the staging area
    • 8 working hours for the inbound team
  2. Actual calculation
    • Docking Area required = Roundup[(20 * (45+30)/60) /8] * (26 * 1 * 1.2) = 124.8 sqm
    • Space for work and travel area = 124.8 * 2 = 249.6 sqm
    • Total space required = 374.4 sqm

Based on the above example, the estimated space required for the inbound area (docking/staging) is approximately 374.4 sqm.

However, in a typical warehouse, the space required will be more than this figure. One of the major contributing factor is because the time the pallet is staged is normally more than 30 minutes. It can take up to half a day to even 2 days for the pallets to be staged before putaway.

The free excel tool here (Warehouse Area Calculator) is able to help us calculate quickly the inbound area required. You do not need to manually calculate using the formula. Just input the variables and the template will determine the estimated area.