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The shipping, receiving, and movement of goods around the world is an important part of how we do business. Companies of all sizes depend on their supply chains to run correctly and on time.

Most consumer goods travel through intermodal drayage before reaching stores, homes, and warehouses. Major cities have a network of intermodal points to coordinate the movement of these shipments.

Intermodal Drayage Basics

Intermodal drayage is a worldwide industry that coordinates massive amounts of large and small shipments daily. Logistics companies do the work of gathering all that information and finding the best way to move cargo. Working with local and international partners, they are able to plan ahead.

This allows them to assure good service to their customers. Our world is getting more connected and supply chain management is becoming more branched out. It is important to have an evolving and improving system that organizes how, when, and where cargo is going.

Intermodal drayage relies on a carefully-planned shipping strategy. It involves moving cargo from its starting point to a delivery point using the most efficient means necessary. A lot of the time, this means your goods will travel by sea, air, rail, and land before reaching their destination.

Drayage refers mainly to the short-distance hauls made from a port to local recipients. This mostly occurs by means of short-haul trucking. Drayage is a great alternative to long-haul trucking. Transportation of cargo is distributed, and drayage drivers make trips back and forth between main intermodal drayage points.

Drayage and intermodal shipping may sound confusing at first. However, when you understand how the different parts work together, you can easily see what drayage solutions are for you. A 3PL service can help you discover the best way to utilize drayage for your shipping needs.

What Does a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Company Do?

Logistics companies are able to combine shipments for regional orders. They can then create an efficient plan to transport them in a timely manner. Logistics companies like Asiana USA carefully plan shipments using multiple modes of transport using air, water, rail, and land modalities.

A logistics company focuses on efficiently organizing containers, travel routes, and shipping operations. This allows them to scale and customize shipments for different manufacturers, wholesalers, and customers worldwide.

Containers and cargo shipments of all sizes have different destinations daily. Putting together an efficient route for all these deliveries saves companies time and money.

Instead of only relying on trucks to do direct deliveries, Asiana USA uses rail, sea, land, and air. This allows us to implement strategic drayage service to ensure goods travel successfully all over North America and the world. There are a number of advantages to using intermodal drayage services including reduced costs, lower environmental impact, and timely deliveries.

What Is Intermodal Drayage?

The logistics of coordinating and shipping products, crates, and containers around the world relies on careful planning and calculations. Very often, your shipment will travel on a number of modes of transport. Drayage is the movement of shipments between short distances. This is often between a major port or railyard to local warehouses, malls, and retailers.

When shipping cargo, it will often travel in a container by ship, train, and truck before it reaches its final destination. Intermodal drayage is an effective alternative to long-haul shipping and trucking. Logistics companies can organize multiple shipments and put together strategic shipping plans.

Large businesses, and even some smaller ones, heavily depend on their goods being on time. Ensure that you have a dependable supply chain management plan and are working with a good logistics vendor. This will let you carry on your business without the worry of something going wrong in your supply.

The intermodal drayage process begins when freighted goods arrive at an intermodal point. This can be a warehouse, regional seaport, or railyard. Cargo is then categorized and separated, ready to be loaded onto the next vehicle on its journey. A container may have reached its final destination or is continuing to another intermodal drayage point.

The appropriate vehicle for the next step depends on a few things. These include length of travel, amount of cargo containers, and proximity of transportation methods to the port determine how cargo will travel next. Different containers and sizes of cargo will get distributed to different modes of transport.

For instance, a railyard next to a port may be used for a long-haul trip. For a short-haul, cargo is placed onto a truck. From here, it will move to its final region. Drayage service is carried out for the cargo to finally get delivered.

Most often, trucks make the final drayage of a shipping route. From large intermodal drayage points, trucks will often make multiple trips to and from daily.

This process takes place in both directions in all port and rail cities, daily. This requires a great deal of coordination and an extended network of movers, shippers, truckers, and conductors. As a result, it is possible to move huge amounts of goods and cargo across the world efficiently.

Why Choose Intermodal Drayage?

Trucking has been used in long-haul shipping quite substantially, and has usually been the go-to option for many industries. Gas prices, safety regulations, and driver shortages have affected this method, both in terms of availability and cost.

Climbing gas prices will naturally affect the trucking industry as this increases the trucking rate overall. Fuel prices have increased by about 50% in the last four years and are only expected to climb further. This poses a cost issue for long-haul trucking.

The industry is currently experiencing advances in alternative transport vehicles. In recent years, many manufacturers have introduced vehicles that incorporate a number of hi-tech features. Cameras, alternative fuel sources, and automatic transmissions are all features truck manufacturers are exploring.

Manufacturers such as Tesla, Volvo, Toyota, and Nikola have already presented electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles. While these vehicles present a viable alternative for the near future, much of the trucking industry relies on the existing infrastructure.

This existing infrastructure still depends on the use of gas and diesel-powered trucks. New laws and hours-of-service rules limit how many hours a driver is able to work. This prevents drivers from driving in unsafe conditions.

For example, cargo drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours. After that, they must be off duty for at least 10 hours. This ensures that drivers have had enough time to rest. Driver safety is an issue on its own, and intermodal drayage helps prevent drivers from being overworked.

Also, drayage means shorter trips rather than weeks on the road. Truck drivers working in closer proximity to local intermodal points provides many benefits.

Drayage provides drivers with shorter trips throughout the region so they are not as limited by government regulations. In some cases, regional warehouses allow drayage drivers to make 3-4 trips per day to a port for more cargo. This makes local drayage highly efficient for a number of reasons. Drivers are working closer to home and in areas where drivers are familiar.

Rail Transport

These shifts have led to innovations in the industry. It has become more focused on efficiency, reliability, safety, and sustainability. Trains have played a large factor in this, taking on a lot of the load for logistics. There are a number of advantages to using rail transport.

Trains use less fuel than trucks, can get across long distances in less time, and can carry more cargo. The rail industry has been improving and expanding rail lines in anticipation of the growing intermodal drayage industry. Heavy traffic for loading and unloading cargo onto and off trucks has made trains a better option.

It is more cost-effective to move items by train and have trucks carry out drayage to and from the railyard. The lower costs make intermodal drayage between rail and trucks an important aspect of the shipping industry.

Rail transport helps move larger, bulkier items longer distances more efficiently, while using less fuel and keeping carbon emissions lower. Less drivers are needed in rail transport as well. Trains have become a good alternative to long-haul trucking all across North America.

Trucker Shortages

As the transport industry is changing, fewer people opt into a career as a truck driver. This is leading to labor shortages across the trucking industry. Both issues with labor availability and shift lengths have encouraged the drayage transporters to explore alternatives. As a result, the industry can accommodate labor shortages and short-haul drayage drivers.

With trucking companies experiencing shortages over recent years, they have taken many efforts to make the job more enticing. Companies have increased base pay for truckers across the nation. They have also approached potential drivers that fall outside the current demographic of truck driver.

Women make up less than 8% of the labor force. The industry has since leveraged their approach to make trucking more attractive to women. Some issues that have been addressed are driver safety concerns, incorporating automatic transmissions, and adding camera features to vehicles.

Additionally, women are more vocal about wanting to have more time to spend with their families. Trucking companies have incorporated this factor into their enticing benefits packages.

In general, truck companies are looking to recruit young people who can adapt to innovative technology. However, because of new regulations, young people cannot receive a CDL license until they are 21 years old. This has caused significant issues for trucking companies looking to recruit younger bodies right out of high school.

This gap in time has caused the trucking industry to lose many potential recruits, as most of them have entered a trade by the time they turn 21. In many cases, the teenagers who would have entered the trucking industry turn to construction.

Companies are turning to ex-military, minorities, and women to fill these gaps in their workforce.

While long-haul trucking is struggling for drivers, drayage services have continued to draw many from the trucking industry. Long-haul workers are traveling for weeks at a time, sometimes in difficult weather conditions. Driving at night can also be difficult. Drayage is an enticing alternative to these long trips, and it allows truckers to spend more time at home.

In addition, intermodal drayage takes some of the demand off the truckers when relying on them for shorter, easier trips. Truckers can get appropriate rest, work in a region they are familiar with, and avoid sometimes treacherous road conditions. This also can make it attractive to potential new truckers.

Air Transport

Air transport is also used for both short- and long-haul shipping, but cargo must be smaller. In addition, air travel poses its own issues. With international travel, security, regulations, rising oil prices, and even demand are affecting this mode of transport.

However, air transport is still the best method for moving goods to their final destination for some companies. With the additional security regulations, it’s important to have a 3PL freight forwarding company who can coordinate with air freight services to ensure the safe and timely delivery of your goods.

Drayage services can take your cargo from the airport to their next delivery point. In some cases, this may mean a seaport, a railyard, a warehouse, or a store or business.

How Do I Find Intermodal Drayage Services?

Selecting the best services for your drayage and shipping needs will depend on a number of factors. Locations, local regulations, company workforce, and experience will all go into your decision. Different companies of varying sizes will have their own specific needs when it comes to drayage. Intermodal drayage can be customized to work for any company, saving cost, time, and labor.

You may opt to work with a drayage company that operates 24 hours a day. That way, the drayage company can efficiently coordinate and deliver your cargo during off-hours.

Seek a drayage service that is located near a railyard or shipping port. Since their main intermodal point is close by, their drayage back and forth is quite efficient. At Asiana USA, we have worked hard to develop relationships with local intermodal points.

You may opt for some of these options depending on the size and demand of your business. Some important things to consider are how the drayage company works with the nearest intermodal point. The existing relationship between the two is a good indicator of their quality of service.

A drayage service that works closely with an intermodal point is more likely to have assets locally. The company would have existing professional relations with the intermodal point, which can help with changing regulations. They are also more likely to be aware of standards and practices of that point.

The team you are working with should be familiar with the intermodal point. They are also likely to be more familiar with other local and regional drop off locations. This can often mean a huge difference in workflow when you are entering a new market or region. It will also help reduce any friction or start-up stress involved in getting started with a new supply chain.

Intermodal Drayage Equipment

Based on the nature of their industry, drayage and shipping companies can incur a lot of wear and tear. The industrial equipment used during the multiple parts of the intermodal drayage process needs to be maintained and updated regularly.

Intermodal drayage relies mostly on the transport of twenty-foot containers. Each unit is referred to a TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit). Shipments are planned according to how many TEUs a vessel can hold. Ships can carry upwards of 18,000 TEU.

Once these ships reach port, the containers are removed with large cranes and placed on their next mode of transport. Usually this will be a truck or a train.

Drayage companies may also work directly with the port to move containers or cargo shipments to warehouses or nearby distribution centers. Different drayage companies may work more closely with certain intermodal drayage points. Others may have specific routes they take.

Is it very important that the service you choose to work with keeps their industrial equipment up to date. Your 3PL company of choice should use updated trucks, forklifts, and onboard refrigeration equipment. Most companies will have a procedure in place to maintain and upgrade equipment to prevent failure.

Additionally, you should choose a company who owns their own chassis. Companies who do not rent out their equipment know that if they fail to get your goods to their destination on time, they will lose money. Companies that own their own truck chassis will have a plan in place for equipment failures.

Equipment failure may lead to delays or quality issues in your product. When working with large-scale supply chains, time and quality are your most important considerations. Making sure the machinery in place can support that process is vital.

Drayage Drivers

Another important factor to look into, especially for drayage services, is that the company hires experienced drivers. When drivers know local routes and traffic patterns, the drayage process becomes much more streamlined. This will prevent delays and allow a more efficient delivery process.

Some companies have drivers working on more flexible schedules, allowing shipping and deliveries to occur during off-hours. Most operate primarily during regular or extended business hours. However, you may want to look into a 24-hour service if that suits your supply chain better.

Asiana USA works with the best and most reputable vendors in the drayage industry. We can quickly and efficiently handle the delivery of small cargo to overweight containers for both import and export.

We handle all nationwide drayage services on the West Coast and North America. Asiana USA has harbors, offices, and facilities located in Los Angeles, New York, China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.

The Asiana USA headquarters are located just south of downtown Los Angeles, minutes away from major rail lines. The rail line connects directly to the Port of Los Angeles, so Asiana USA is well incorporated into the Los Angeles intermodal drayage directory.

Where Is the Port of Los Angeles?

The port of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro, 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Also called America’s Port and Los Angeles Harbor, it covers 7,500 acres of land and water on 43 miles of waterfront. This massive port also has a large rail line, allowing it to quickly unload and move containers with its 86 cranes.

Combined with the neighboring Port of Long Beach, this area is one of the world’s biggest ports. It handles a massive amount of imports and exports on a daily basis. An estimated 100 trains travel daily in and out of this intermodal point.

The port handles vessels over 1,000 feet long that can carry up to 18,000 shipping containers. More containers are moved than any other port in America. They use an advanced digital platform that provides supply chain partners reliability, predictability and planning capabilities. This helps handle maximum cargo with efficiency and speed.

In 2019, the port handled 9,337,632 containers, which is about $300 billion in cargo value. The Los Angeles Port is the biggest port in the United States and one of the world’s primary intermodal drayage points. Every day, shipments include furniture, consumer electronics, automotive parts, vehicles, and more.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing Asiana USA?

A reputable and well-integrated 3PL company, Asiana USA handles all logistics for ocean, air, drayage, and warehouse fulfilment services. Asiana USA is one of the best international shipping companies for international clients.

We work with local and global partners to create the most efficient delivery systems. Our network of shipping professionals is based on location, quality, and efficiency.

We can also handle customs for you, assist with buying agents, and help manage costs according to the First Sale Rule. The First Sale Rule allows buyers to pay customs on the price of the original sale of the shipment. Sometimes a shipment will be bought or sold before it arrives at its destination. You will only pay customs and duty on the original price.

Asiana USA works with a diverse set of third party operators. This ensures your cargo makes it from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible. Our team creates well-planned routes and schedules with drivers, ports, rail yards, and other vendors in the drayage industry.

In addition, we use state-of-the-art tracking technology to keep you updated about your cargo at all times.

Asiana USA does business with a number of large-scale industries. We provide intermodal drayage services for the garment, agriculture, apparel, auto parts, furniture, and consumer goods industries. Asiana USA has a solid Los Angeles intermodal drayage directory. We can coordinate, plan, and deliver an intricate and efficient supply chain management and drayage system.

As global markets and regulations continue to shift, international shipping and drayage processes are constantly under flux. Find a strategic partner that is aware of new laws, tariffs, and documentation requirements. This will greatly improve your shipping experience and ensure a steady supply chain. It is important to have a partner that is aware of changing tariffs, fees, and custom rates.

There are a number of ways to ship cargo and containers across the world and country. Efficiency is a huge part of that process. Having a streamlined shipping and drayage system in place means you are saving money and time, while maintaining quality. Any complications in the supply chain can cost you your money, time and reputation in such a competitive environment.

Final Thoughts

A good 3PL partner can help you reduce time shipping and loading time. This partner offers competitive rates that lower your overall costs in shipping, customs fees, and additional labor. The most important part of this process is your cargo. A dependable logistics partner that insists on proper handling, loading, and refrigeration of cargo helps ensure the final quality of your product.

A good logistics partner will know your needs, so that you can plan your business efficiently. Being able to track and manage your shipment easily can streamline your company’s workflow. Knowing that you are receiving your cargo on time lets you keep operations going smoothly.

With Asiana USA, rest assured that you are receiving a high-quality service at a competitive price. Our Los Angeles intermodal drayage directory is extensive and constantly being improved upon to serve the shipping world.

Call Asiana USA at 855-500-1808 today to learn more about how to improve your shipping and drayage services.

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