Understanding the Importance of Drayage

Posted by Port City Logistics on Oct 30, 2019 11:42:51 AM

Understanding the Importance of Drayage in the Logistics WorldUnless you work in the logistics or shipping industry, I’m willing to bet the term drayage has never entered your vernacular, even as instances of it play out every day on America’s roads and freeways, rail yards and ports, to the tune of sixty million movements a year. 

Generating revenues of $50 billion dollars in 2018, it’s an integral part of the supply chain and is defined as the process of transporting freight in shipping containers over short distances, most often by the use of trucks.

Transporting cargo over short distances from port to port, port to warehouse, port to rail yard, or even warehouse to port are common examples.

How Drayage Works

Historically, the term dates back several hundred years and comes from the word “dray” which refers to a low-sided horse-drawn wagon or cart used to move goods over short distances. Over time trucks and vans replaced horses and carts.

To help understand how it works, consider this realistic scenario. A clothing company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, designs baseball caps and sells them to retailers across the United States. Research and development occur at the home office but the company partners with a manufacturer in Dhaka, Bangladesh to make the product. 

Three months before the college football season begins, the clothing company places an order for 2,000 cartons of product. Once manufactured, the product is packed into an intermodal container and loaded onto an ocean freighter at the Payra Sea Port in Bangladesh. The ship arrives at the Port of Los Angeles two weeks later. At the port, the container is offloaded from the ship and placed on a truck for delivery to the Union Pacific rail yard 29 miles away. 

This last move is an example of drayage. More instances are possible with this container as it makes its way to the Georgia-based company’s warehouse.

How It Is Used

When we think of drayage, we envision large intermodal containers on a ship, but there are also two other instances of it. One involves shipping to shopping centers or malls. Typically, shopping malls have centralized docks where receivers can pick up product. This curtails parking congestion.

For trade shows, exhibiting companies will ship either directly to the trade show or to a warehouse rented out by the show. Either way, the company’s exhibit needs to get from a warehouse or convention hall loading dock to the exhibit space on the floor and after the show from the floor back to the loading dock. Contracted firms handle the logistics.

Two of the big drivers that have elevated the dray industry are the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, and the explosion in global trade, most of which occurs through maritime shipping. With the projected increase in global trade, the importance in keeping the flow of goods moving uninterrupted will continue to grow as will the need for more truck drivers.

PCL Strives To Be The Best Drayage Company in Savannah

Choosing the right company for your shipping needs is important. The right firm, like Port City Logistics, will take proper care of your freight and efficiently transport it to its next destination. If you need drayage or any other logistics services in the Savannah area, contact us today! Our friendly staff will make sure that all of your distribution needs are met.

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Topics: Single Source Logistics, Truck Freight, Port of Savannah Drayage