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The global supply chain consists of several interdependent components, each of which must work properly for shipping operations to run smoothly. With many international shipments, goods must be shipped using various transportation methods. This process, called intermodal shipping, is used to efficiently move shipments globally using a combination of air, sea, and land freight.

Container drayage plays a major role in the intermodal shipping process, moving cargo between shipping phases. Discover how container drayage works and how Asiana USA’s drayage services can help your business transport goods safely and efficiently.

What is Container Drayage?

Container drayage is transporting goods over short distances between other modes of transportation in the intermodal shipping process.

For example, products may be transported from their point of origin to a port using ground freight, then to the destination country using sea freight. Once it arrives, it may cross the destination country through the air before finally being transported from the airport to the product’s final destination using road freight.

Between these phases, goods are transported using container drayage, which connects the main portions of the shipping process to each other. Since most of these shipments cover relatively short distances, they are typically performed using trucks.

Types of Container Drayage

Container drayage is a far-reaching term that covers several types of short-distance intermodal transport. Typically, drayage will be a component of every long-haul shipment. According to the Intermodal Association of North America, there are six main types of drayage:

Cross-Town Drayage

Cross-town drayage (inter-carrier drayage) refers to the transportation of an intermodal unit across town, from one railroad to another, as a part of the intermodal shipping process. For example, as a shipment arrives at the end of one railroad, cross-town drayage would be used to truck the shipment to the next rail hub to continue to its destination.

Door-to-Door Drayage

Door-to-door drayage (retail drayage) involves the movement of goods via roadway to a customer’s location. For example, door-to-door drayage may move a shipment from an airport to the customer’s distribution center.

Expedited Drayage

Expedited drayage is the transportation of time-sensitive goods via roadway. These shipments are intended to deliver goods rapidly. Expedited drayage may be used for goods with expiration dates, like food, medicine, or agriculture.

IMX Drayage

IMX drayage (intra-carrier drayage) is the transportation of goods from a carrier’s port, terminal, or rail hub to its intermodal hub. IMX drayage may involve trucking goods from a port to the same company’s nearest intermodal hub for further shipment.

Pier Drayage

Pier drayage refers to transporting goods from a hub, such as a rail hub or airport, to a dock or pier at a port. Pier drayage would transport goods between an airport and an international shipping port to be shipped to their destination country.

Shuttle Drayage

Shuttle drayage occurs when a railway does not have room to accommodate an intermodal unit. The container is taken to another parking lot to await its movement back to the hub.

Why is Container Drayage Important?

With the global supply chain continuing to adapt after being stretched to its limits during the COVID-19 pandemic, container drayage is more critical now than ever. Container drayage is particularly important at this time due to these factors:

Limited Truck Capacity

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a large number of truck drivers either retiring or making career changes. As a result, there is now a shortage of truckers worldwide. With fewer truckers available to haul goods and a diminished ability to transport goods via roadway, many supply chain businesses have adapted and begun to use rail freight shipping instead of road freight. The increased demand for rail freight has also increased demand for drayage between ports and rail hubs.

Increased Intermodal Shipping Volume

With the demand for goods increasing in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for intermodal shipping has increased dramatically. Several factors contribute to this increase in intermodal shipping volume, including the trucker shortage, increased fuel costs, and transportation issues.

The increased demand for intermodal shipping has also increased the demand for drayage services, which transport goods from one transportation mode to another.

Container Shortage

To ship goods, you need shipping containers. Unfortunately, port congestion and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a shortage of shipping containers. This has led to higher demand for drayage services, as they help free up shipping containers more rapidly to facilitate a higher volume of shipments.

Port Congestion

A bottleneck in oversea shipping has also led to an increased emphasis on container drayage. With many major ports seeing daily delays and bottlenecks, drayage now plays another vital role: reducing container backup at ports. This is because drayage helps free containers and keep them off the docks, allowing ports to accept more shipments per day.

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Ship Internationally with Asiana USA

While the international supply chain is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses rely heavily on international shipping. If your supply chain business needs help shipping goods safely, reliably, and in a timely fashion, Asiana USA can help.

We offer a wide variety of shipping services, from drayage to freight forwarding, so you can rest assured that your goods will safely arrive on time at their destination. Call Asiana USA today at (855) 500-1808 to learn how Asiana USA can handle your container drayage needs.

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