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The drayage services in the logistics planning for intermodal shipping is a vital part of the overall shipping process. Drayage involves the movement of freight over small distances usually directly from the ship or port storage to a warehouse, train, or truck terminal for further shipping. According to IANA, The Intermodal Association of North America, there are over 60 million drayage movements of cargo in one year in just North America.

Drayage trucking companies have the task of taking cargo that has been shipped in large containers in and out of warehouses, rail terminals, harbors, and port facilities. These companies must have the required licensing and bonding to ensure that when they handle large steel containers by loading them and unloading them that they have a thorough knowledge of the tasks involved and that they are covered for any problems that may occur if there is an accident causing damage to the cargo.

Drayage services have evolved along with the shipping industry. At the turn of the 20th century, when the industrial revolution began, a dray was a flat wagon drawn by horses that provided the movement of cargo from the ships to the warehouses. This was a short trip, but an important leg in the shipping process. In modern drayage, the cargo is still moved within the boundaries of a port, or metropolitan area and the trip is usually completed within one driver shift. Drayage can also refer to the name of the fee charged for the service itself, but in general, drayage services mean the act of shipping goods short distances.

Steps to Ensure Package Safety

Although no drayage carrier can assure you that 100% of the cargo will be transferred from the ship to the warehouse with no damage, some steps can be taken to provide an approach to preparing the cargo for the long trip and anticipating the necessity to load and unload several times. These suggestions can work with very high valued items as well as items that are more mundane or less expensive.

Design a Secure Supply Chain

Working with the freight forwarder or your logistics consultant, the first step in package security is designing a transportation chain that makes package safety a priority. This is especially important with items that have a high price tag, but it is also a good idea for general shipping. The trip design should be able to identify areas where there may be an increased risk for theft or damage, and the port drayage services should be able to anticipate the need for additional care or security.

The complete design will make it possible to monitor the cargo from the time it leaves the drayage warehouse or storage area to the moment it arrives at the buyer’s approved destination. Tracking shipments by paying attention to accurate paperwork and procedure and the use of up to date communication systems will provide added security for the shipment regardless of the time it takes for the distance it travels.

Use a Creative Approach to Shipping

Also known as a layered approach to shipping, it can be very beneficial to use creative loading and carrying combinations to address any concerns that may be inherent to the type of cargo. For instance, the drayage trucking company can request an expedited shipment to move the cargo at a faster and high priority rate to ensure the contents arrive intact. The shipper could also split the cargo into smaller loads once it arrives in port to lessen the opportunity for damage or to better monitor the contents.

Dedicated trucks, speedy auditing procedures, and efficient timing of the delivery through radio, GPS, or telephone can all lead to more safety and security for the shipment.

Evaluate Insurance Coverage

Insurance companies will many times restrain coverage of a shipment by building exclusions into the policy with the trucking company, and if the shipment is not covered for the full value, the shipper or the buyer may have to make up any difference if there is a problem. The drayage trucking company should have a full understanding of any exclusions in the insurance policy so that both the shipper and the buyer know in advance of the liabilities that they may have to deal with.

Select a Reputable Carrier

Drayage transportation primarily uses trucks to transport cargo from the ships at the port to warehouses or other destinations. The drayage contractor should have certain licenses and certifications in place to ensure that the drivers and loaders working are qualified and have clean driving records. The drayage company should be familiar with handling the type of cargo that you have, and there should be a performance record that you can verify with the trucking authorities if you are unsure about their background and service.

The main goal in selecting a carrier is to be able to reduce the risks of theft, damage, or having the cargo left in a warehouse where no one seems to know its whereabouts. If you are working with a freight forwarder or freight agent who has vetted the carrier you can probably rest assured that your cargo will be handled correctly. However, making sure that the carrier is the right one for you is of the utmost importance in securing packaging safety.

Final Word

The drayage leg of the shipping industry is the one most noticeable because it is the one closet to the end of the journey. At this point in the process, the cargo will probably have traveled more than half of the distance indicated in the scope of the trip, and now the buyer and shipper are both anxious to see it to completion. Efficiency through thoughtful and creative loading and attention to any risky areas of transfer or storage can be a proactive way to ensure the safety of the cargo.

Asiana USA is experienced and knowledgeable about the critical steps to take during drayage to ensure the safety of your shipment. Contact us today if you have any questions about the drayage procedures they incorporate with their services. We can be reached at Asianausa.com. or 855-500-1808.

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