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In many ways, Cartage is precisely the same a Drayage when goods are being shipped from one location to another. However, one distinction for container drayage is that drayage usually means transporting the entire container and cartage usually means breaking down the contents of the container into smaller units and then transporting them by road to locations within a metropolitan area.

Another way to separate the two would be that Drayage carries certain classifications under the IANA guidelines whereas Cartage does not.

Drayage Classifications

There are six different classifications that the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) uses to define drayage. These classifications are universal and act as a vocabulary for those in the shipping business.

Pier drayage refers to the movement of cargo from the railyard or storage area to the pier where there is a ship that is waiting for the next leg of the trip.

Drayage that is expedited requires that all the transportation services are very well coordinated to avoid any unnecessary delays getting the goods delivered to the port. Expedited material might be equipment needed to repair an electrical turbine or emergency supplies in case of a natural disaster.

Shuttle drayage sometimes is a phase of inter-carrier drayage when containers need to be held at a lot or warehouse until the next mode of transportation is available whether it be air, land or sea.

Door-to-door means that the cargo or merchandise has been taken directly to the receiver and delivered at their home, or place of business. This method works best for cargo like artwork or furniture to ensure safety and a minimum of damage.

Inter-carrier drayage is the transportation of materials from one company to a different company or mode of transportation. For instance, moving goods from a port where a container was taken from an airplane and moved to a ship is inter-carrier drayage.

Intra-carrier drayage is moving material form one place to another, but it is done by the same company. A freight forwarder service will often arrange for this type of service to allow the container drayage process to come in at a lower cost.

Cartage Differences

When a container is in drayage, there is usually a bill of lading that contains critical information that allows the shipper and receiver to account for the shipment as well as track the shipment from the point of source to the point of delivery. When using cartage, the usual document is a cartage advice, which is legal document that details the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being transported. The cartage advice can also act as a receipt.

The cartage advice must be with the cargo being moved, and it must be signed by the receiver as proof that the shipment was received.

When dealing with cartage there is a cartage agent involved unlike in drayage. The agent often uses their paperwork and forms to identify and ship the material. For instance, a truck that is part of the drayage system and has brought a container from the pier to a warehouse will have documents created by a freight forwarder or another party handling the container. Once the goods are broken out of the container, the cartage agent will develop their own set of documents to make sure the goods are delivered to the correct receiver.

Summary and Final Thoughts

The differences between the drayage services and those of cartage services are very subtle, and many times the terms are used interchangeably. However, there are differences, and the professional shipper may encounter these differences during the container drayage journey.

Asiana USA handles customs clearance and delivery of goods to the customer’s workplace and keeps an update of shipping changes. Contact us at 855-500-1808 for a quote for your shipping needs.

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