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Drayage is a critical element of local and international shipping that many people overlook. While it’s crucial to establish how to move goods cross-country, internationally, and intercontinentally, it’s also essential to find methods for moving containers shorter distances.

Drayage is the essential link that enables shippers to manage intermodal transport. As a crucial step in the supply chain, importers and exporters must continue to improve their drayage processes.

As 2021 draws near, we are amid unprecedented circumstances regarding logistics services. While every industry has been affected by the global pandemic, international trade has faced unique problems. With this in mind, here are some of the most important drayage trends to look out for in 2021.

What is Drayage?

Drayage is the transportation of goods over a short distance. The term often describes one element of a much longer overall journey. It can typically involve local trucking companies providing pickup and delivery of goods to a nearby port, border, terminal, or retailer.

There are several forms of drayage in operation.

  • Inter-carrier drayage refers to the transportation of goods between different carriers. For example, it could mean moving goods from a rail station to a port for ocean carriers.
  • Expedited drayage is when freight containers are moved very quickly for time-sensitive transport.
  • Intra-carrier drayage moves cargo to two separate hubs owned by the same carrier.
  • Pier drayage uses highways to move cargo from one hub to an ocean-based dock or pier.
  • Shuttle drayage entails transporting intermodal cargo to a temporary destination, usually because of an overcrowded port or a lack of truck parking.
  • Door-to-door drayage refers to the delivery of goods to a retail customer via motor carrier.

Trends to Look Out For in 2021

Improvements in Technology

At a corporate level, logistics companies are becoming more reliant on software and equipment to improve their bottom line. Data analytics plays a significant role in drayage and logistics. Advanced technology allows management to organize, plan, and analyze every business aspect, from basic rota organization to complex supply chain operations.

Data analytics can also be used while goods are in transit. It provides accurate tracking information and identifies operations that need improvement.

Technology will continue to reduce human interaction at various transportation sites because machines and technology create a safer working environment.

Influence of E-commerce

E-commerce is experiencing enormous growth, showing no signs of slowing down in 2021. Nasdaq predicts that by the year 2040, up to 95% of all purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce.

More online shopping leads to a greater demand for truck transport. As the trucking industry plays an integral part in drayage, expect to see an increased number of trucks on the roads, carrying out various types of drayage.

The e-commerce industry is reliant on fast, efficient, and effective logistics. A continued rise in online sales depends on the availability of drayage solutions.

Influence of E-commerce

Carrier Bankruptcy

Because of the challenging year and exceedingly tough market conditions, many carriers had to close their doors. Although there are positive predictions for 2021, expect several more carriers to declare bankruptcy in the coming months.

There are currently thousands of truck drivers without work. If carriers continue to close, it may lead to driver shortages, causing problems down the line.

While certain carriers have made plans to counteract these issues, more carriers are likely to go out of business unless there is a major spike in retail demand.


COVID-19 restrictions, regulations, and the general influence of the virus will force drayage operations to be adaptable. From touchless digital processes to physical distancing and from ever-changing documentation processes to developing warehouse operations, drayage companies must be ready to adapt.

As well as adapting to COVID protocols, drayage operations must comply with general industry changes. The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is an online database of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders, recording any drug or alcohol violations a driver may have committed.

Drivers and machine operators are subject to random drug testing to ensure the safety of all workers. Logistics services must be strict on hiring and monitoring their employees.

Continued Urban Development

Each year, urban development affects logistics. Drayage services have been enhanced drastically because of this. Improved infrastructure, warehousing, and logistics operations have led to the creation of small hubs that are strategically placed for more efficient transport links.

New routes and improved conditions will make for even better drayage in 2021.

Drayage Continues to Play a Key Role in 2021

Despite the growing demand for e-commerce and online business, local services continue to play a key role in logistics. Larger market players can’t continue to be successful without the involvement of drayage services.

Asiana USA has many reputable contacts and years of valuable experience in arranging drayage services as a leading international shipping company. If you require additional information or would like to request a quote please contact a member of our team today at (855) 500-1808.

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