Freight ships from all over the world, from country to country and port to port. It is the goods that customers want and need, sent by the companies who specialize in manufacturing these goods. Your goods may need to make a few stops on the way to their final destination, and that is where drayage service becomes an important piece of the supply chain.
Drayage service is the intermodal movement of your goods between ports, shipping hubs, or other facilities, usually by trucks.
History of drayage
Drayage began hundreds of years ago when a “dray” denoted a cart pulled by horses. The cart did not have sides, much like the flatbeds that cargo containers are placed on behind tractor trailer trucks today. The horses were called “dray horses.”
Today, drayage continues to be utilized to move goods once they have come into a port or shipping terminal. They may be moved to another port or terminal farther inland, or a warehouse. Essentially, drayage limits the congestion of the millions of containers that come into a port each year by moving the goods out to their next destination as quickly as possible.
Drayage service has also had its controversies, as environmental groups have sought to limit emissions pollution caused by the trucks transporting the containers to their final destinations. Sometimes these trucks will make multiple trips in one day if their destinations are in close proximity.
The University of Texas conducted an extensive study on the environmental impacts of drayage, along with its impacts on traffic congestion. Drayage is an important service for manufacturers, and the University of Texas also highlighted their concerns about the rising costs of drayage service and its impact on shipping costs overall. Most notably, worries spiked when fuel costs began to soar in late 2008. Other concerns noted by the study include cheaper labor bids by dray drivers which worried organized labor advocates and the limitations of hours on dray drivers each day.
Today, drayage service continues to be a crucial piece of intermodal freight forwarding services, allowing the goods to remain contained until they reach their final destination to be sorted and shipped. It remains the most efficient method of getting the goods from international and national companies from shipping ports into the hands of consumers.
When do you need drayage?
According to the Intermodal Association of North America, about 95% of the world’s manufactured goods are in container drayage for at least part of their transport time between the manufacturing site and their final consumer destination; You will likely need drayage service at some point during the shipping process of your goods.
Scheduling, planning, and tracking your shipments is a fairly complex process, especially if your goods are going from a shipping port to multiple warehouses, railyards, or other ports in between.
Logistically, this can quickly become a nightmare for manufacturers who are unfamiliar with the process or do not have the proper international licensing requirements to get their goods through customs, ports, air freight destinations, and other complications. Furthermore, companies need to have a relationship with local trucking companies to move their containers via drayage service.
It can also become overwhelming to maintain contact with your many recipient customers, while also trying to oversee production operations at your company.
The 3PL solution
Not only can a third party logistics provider help you with the shipping logistics of your products, but they can also arrange your drayage service using their already-established relationships and licenses with trucking companies. The 3PL solution takes the logistical burden off of manufacturers and distribution companies and assures safe delivery of goods to the customer.