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Drayage is an essential mode of transportation in the container shipping industry. The term drayage refers to moving inventory on a short-haul trip, usually between storage facilities and marine ports, rail terminals, or airports or vice versa.

Trucks and vans are the primary types of drayage carriers. Drayage is a small but critical part of the supply chain, filling gaps between major modes of transportation.

Importance of Container Drayage Services

Since drayage services move inventory over short distances, a container drayage company typically assigns units to a particular area. Service providers offer fast and efficient transport to and from major ports by focusing on individual container drayage locations. Drayage services play an important role in meeting shipment and delivery deadlines.

While most people understand that imports and exports travel in and out of an ocean port, the intricacies of getting cargo from port ships to the end customers are more complex. Dray drivers are responsible for taking goods from ships to railroad terminals and from storage facilities to loading docks. Drayage is a niche mode of transport that ensures the entire supply chain process functions correctly.

Types of Container Drayage Services

There are several different classifications of drayage. Shippers must choose appropriate modes of transport according to their needs. The route, time sensitivity, and availability of other transportation modes help shippers determine the right classification. In many instances, businesses use multiple types of drayage for a single shipment.

Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) is the trade association that promotes drayage as an essential part of the transportation process. IANA divides drayage into six categories, depending on the shipping required for the merchandise. This system is global and used in North America to coordinate with countries worldwide.

The main classifications of drayage are:

Intra-Carrier Drayage

Intra-carrier drayage is the transportation of container freight between shipping hubs using the same container drayage company. By using a drayage service, businesses avoid the transfer of shipments between contractors. This can reduce potential delays and disruptions during transit.

Inter-Carrier Drayage

Inter-carrier drayage involves moving goods over short distances using different carriers. For example, a drayage truck may transport a shipment from a port loading dock to a rail hub, where another drayage service completes the next leg of the journey.

Expedited Drayage

Expedited drayage services specialize in transporting time-sensitive goods quickly. This type of service is often offered by a broker or intermodal freight transport company. They must have a reliable network and sufficient equipment to coordinate each step of the process. Expedited drayage is typically more expensive than intra or inter-carrier services.


Pier Drayage

Pier drayage services provide transportation for goods from a temporary storage facility or intermodal terminal to a port or loading dock. This is typically the last transport route before goods are shipped internationally.

Door-to-Door Drayage

Door-to-door drayage is where inventory is collected at a port or terminal and is subsequently delivered to the end customer. This type of service is predominantly used when the customer or retailer is located near the destination port.

Shuttle Drayage

Shuttle drayage services transport freight from ports to temporary stopping points. They are often needed if there is a driver shortage, or the destination port becomes overcrowded. A secondary drayage service then collects the inventory and transports it to the next destination.

Drayage Containers

The containers used in the logistics industry come in various specifications to accommodate different types of drayage loads. Bulk freight or heavy loads require the largest containers (40 to 45 feet long). Smaller intermodal containers are usually 20 feet long. All containers are either 6 or 8 feet in height, but some container manufacturers build custom units for clients.

The most common types of containers used in the drayage industry are:

  • Flat rack containers
  • Dry containers
  • Open top containers
  • High cube containers
  • Refrigerated containers

Intermodal Freight Transport

Drayage is often referred to as a type of intermodal transportation. Intermodal transport involves combining multiple carrier vehicles, like ocean liners, trains, and trucks to move goods from the point of origin to the final destination. Many international shipping companies offer comprehensive transportation solutions, including drayage and intermodal services.

Secure Reliable Drayage Services with Asiana USA

Smooth drayage is essential to keep your inventory moving once it arrives at the destination port. Collecting goods from ports, railways, and airports and carrying out short journeys is a complex process that requires industry expertise and strategic networking.

Asiana USA is a world-class international shipping company that can arrange container drayage for your business. Our services ensure your goods are picked up at specific locations at precise times. We allow you to track the goods through every step of the journey and ensure all your documentation is correct.

Contact us for a quote or to discuss your transportation needs in more detail. Reach out online or give us a call today at (855) 500-1808.

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