As a critical step in the freight forwarding process, drayage services are required to transport cargo over short distances, usually via ground transportation. 

There are many elements that all come together to make up the freight forwarding process. From warehousing, to customs clearance, to using the proper management software, the whole operation requires several services to be completed. It’s important to look at the whole supply chain process to make sure you can stay ahead of your competition, and one of the elements that is crucial to freight forwarding is drayage shipping.  

What is drayage shipping? 

Drayage shipping is a critical step in the freight forwarding process as it handles moving freight in between each stage. Drayage companies transport containers in and out of warehouses, on and off rail cars, and in between ocean ports and air terminals. The large shipping containers get loaded onto drayage truck trailers, and the drayage company takes it from there. From transferring cargo to a warehouse or other storage facility, drayage companies are in charge of preparing containers for the next step in the freight forwarding process. 

What types of drayage services are there? 

There are many types of drayage services for different cargo needs, as drayage shipping is not a one-size-fits-all service. Determine which classification of drayage is best suited for your freight prior to booking services from a drayage company. 

  • Expedited Drayage: In which freight containers are transported in the shortest amount of time possible. Often used for time-sensitive shipments. 

  • Inter-Carrier Drayage: When trucks transfer cargo between different carriers in a short distance, like moving cargo from a terminal to rail, sea to rail, etc. 

  • Intra-Carrier Drayage: This involves trucks taking freight to two different locations owned by the same carrier company. In this case, cargo can be transported from an intermodal hub to a railyard. 

  • Pier Drayage: The movement of a container being transported from a rail terminal to an ocean’s shipping dock or pier. Usually, but not always, used in exporting services. 

  • Shuttle Drayage: When a container is loaded to a temporary parking spot or stopping point to make room for more units at the hub of origin.  

  • Door-to-Door: Truck transportation of moving the container to the retail customer. 

Why do you need drayage services in the shipping process? 

The biggest advantage of utilizing drayage services is that it helps companies save costs and increases workflow efficiency. If your container gets stuck at the port, it may lead to extra costs caused by stock shortages and having to pay for the space it is taking up. No matter how large a port is, there will always be limited capacity, and container rentals can be expensive. Why let your containers be sitting ducks at the locks for long periods of time, when you can contact a drayage company to make sure your cargo stays active in the shipping process? By using drayage services, you can move your freight to off-site warehouses to stay on top of your supply chain turnaround, and you won’t have to pay extra fees, or block traffic at busy ports.  

What else should a drayage company provide? 

Real-time tracking can make or break your levels of efficiency in the supply chain. With technological advances, drayage services have become more transparent and more efficient. With the added service of real-time container monitoring, companies can feel more at ease implementing drayage services in their freight forwarding procedures. Knowing your cargo’s location and its internal condition allows companies to be prepared and make sure they have the resources to process the containers when they arrive. 

Let a professional take over!  

Having the knowledge and understanding of why you should implement drayage services into your freight transportation process is incredibly important, but you don’t have to figure out how to outsource these services on your own. Leave it up to us! With years of experience, our professionals at SFI can help you work out the details. All you have to do is contact us today, and let us know what you need.