Does your business have goods coming into the U.S. via shipping container(s)? If so, then someone at your company has probably planned how to get those containers from the dock to their final destination. As you may know, that trip from the port to another location is where drayage comes in. However, you may still be wondering, what is drayage?

If you’d like to learn more about the meaning of drayage, read our quick and straightforward guide about drayage basics. You’ll learn what it is, what you need to help your business run smoothly, and how to find a drayage facilitator that will deliver everything your company needs.

What Is Drayage?

Drayage is defined as the transportation of freight over a short distance. It’s used to move shipping containers from a port to a train or warehouse, or from a train or warehouse to a port. Drayage is vital to intermodal shipping and is part of the shipping container industry.

You’ve seen those big trucks hauling shipping containers down the highway? Well, that’s drayage shipping.

A Step in the Logistics Process

Container drayage is essentially one step in a long logistical process of getting your goods to your warehouse (or retail customers). Drayage companies work in ports and harbors, taking goods that arrive from ocean transport and moving them to trains, warehouses, or retailers.

Most commonly, this involves unloading huge metal shipping containers from cargo ships and loading them onto truck trailers. From here, the container is hauled by overland to its next destination, typically a warehouse.

3 Key Things You Need to Know About Drayage

The process of shipping goods is never straightforward. There are many factors you need to consider to avoid complications and added costs.

Three key terms to help you understand better what drayage is includes:

1. Demurrage

When your container of goods arrives at the shipping docks, you have a limited amount of time to pick up the container at the port. This may vary depending on the ocean line that imports the cargo and the port itself.

If your business doesn’t remove the container from the port in the specified time, you will be charged a “demurrage” fee. This will typically be charged daily until the day the container leaves port.

2. Detention

When your shipping container is hauled from the port, you typically have a specified number of days in which the empty container must be returned. The shipping containers belong to the ocean cargo companies, and they often need them back quickly to load another shipment.

If you do not return the shipping container within the deadline, you will be charged a “detention” fee for every day that it is late. 

3. Palletize

When your container is loaded overseas, it will often be floor loaded. This means it’s disorganized, and not stored in a way that can be delivered to a warehouse.

Once your shipment arrives, you will need to palletize it so that it can efficiently be stored in a warehouse or sent to a retailer. 

As you can see from the above, there are a lot of elements involved in creating a smooth drayage shipping process. This is why you need to find a partner you can rely on. You need to work with a third party that will quickly palletize and deliver your goods and then gets the container back to the shipping port pronto.

When these steps are done without care or speed in mind, you can end up with huge fees that cut big holes in your revenue.

How to Find the Right Drayage Partner for Your Business

You use drayage to get your goods to their warehouses or retailers until they are ready to be sold. It’s an essential part of your supply chain logistics. Fast deliveries keep your customers happy, your reputation in good standing, and your shipping costs without penalty fees. But where do you find a great drayage partner?

Draydex interface deep dive into pricing
We offer a first of its kind TMS extension called Draydex. Draydex isn’t your average drayage directory or app. It includes a “Book It Now” feature that lets you quickly get the most competitive rates, an easy-to-use free rate management system that saves you time & money by keeping all information in one place, the ability to monitor shipments, and much more.
Draydex directory of drayage services

With over 40 years of experience and a nationwide network that includes handling hundreds of thousands of containers each year for nearly every major freight forwarder, we know exactly what it is businesses need for their drayage and make it quick and simple to find that information.

Instant drayage pricing, including capacity, takes the hassle out of your job. You’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand the current spot market. Reduce freight costs, prevent communication breakdowns, and find helpful insights.

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