What Is Drayage Shipping and When Do You Need It?

Drayage shipping is moving container freight over short distances, mainly in the same metropolitan area between ports, facilities, rail yards or other shipping hubs. Drayage transportation is handled by trucks and is usually part of intermodal transport. The service is in extremely high demand in large port cities, like Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Baltimore, Seattle, and more.

The History of Drayage

Surprisingly, the history of drayage service goes further in the past than many can imagine. In fact, the term “drayage” originates from the word “dray.” This is an old vehicle which means a low cart without sides, driven by horses. Obviously, such carriages couldn’t handle long hauls and moved goods over short distances within the villages and towns. The technology was used until the beginning of the twentieth century before modern trucks replaced it.

The Role of Drayage in Intermodal Transportation

Although drayage seems like a small link, it plays a substantial role in the entire supply chain. Quick and safe pick up of your cargo and smooth delivery to the next shipping dock ensures that every following operation goes well. Essentially, proper equipment and well-organized load planning are crucial for an efficient drayage move.

Intermodal shipping accounts for a sufficient part of overall cargo movement. According to the Intermodal Association of North America, 95 percent of intermodal freight goes in a container at some point of transit. This means drayage, which is primarily transporting a container, is critical for companies who ship intermodal.

What Services Does Drayage Include?

  • Moving cargo from port to port
  • Port to the rail yard
  • Port to warehouse/shipping hub
  • Facility to the port, rail yard, or another facility

What does the drayage transportation process look like?

The intermodal drayage process begins with receiving a container with freight at the port, facility, warehouse, or a rail point. Then, the received goods are separated, loaded and taken to its next destination point. Short distance shipping as drayage is handled by trucks. Consequently, companies who use drayage services need accurate scheduling and shipment planning. That’s where a third-party logistics provider (3PLs) can help.

Ultimately, any successful logistics operation starts with proper planning. Make sure to find a reliable transportation partner. Whenever you need to pick up freight and move it to the next hub, drayage services step into the game. It can be a efficient solution for your intermodal strategy.