What Drayage Means and How It Keeps Your Products Moving Smoothly

Posted by Port City Logistics on Feb 8, 2022 12:04:41 PM

With increasing supply demand comes expanding transportation needs. Shippers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) are looking left and right for ways to maximize logistics and tricks of the trade to get their freight where it needs to be punctual. Drayage is a critical piece of that puzzle, but shipping drayage can be expensive and confusing at times. 

At the beginning of 2022, JOC.com connected with Drayage.com about the 1,228 new carrier listings added in 2021; “In the past seven to eight months we’ve been adding small companies to the directory eight to 15 times a day. These mainly are drayage drivers, who used to be employed by or leased to larger drayage providers”. As the drayage experiences a shift in available capacity, shippers need to grasp how shipping drayage affects them.  

What Drayage Means

As e-commerce continues to reshape the supply chain, goods are rarely filled by local means. Different materials are often shipped across multiple modes of international and stateside travel to one core location to manufacture other orders. Afterward, the completed goods usually take various additional means of transport to get to their end destinations.  

Drayage is the term to describe the short-haul of freight that bridges multimodal transportation. Drayage trucks may carry freight directly to the airport from the dock or begin at a portside short-term warehousing and deliver to a distribution center. A specific example may start with a drayage truck picking up a load from the Port of Savannah and taking it to a distribution center (DC) 50 miles away. From the DC, the freight is eventually transferred to a long-haul vehicle that takes it to the product’s final destination. 

Why Efficient Drayage Is Critical to Maintaining Inventory and Product Flows

Some may think that drayage is only about truck turnaround time across a short distance, but it is more than that. By utilizing efficient drayage partners and systems, shippers can minimize slowdowns in the product chain. Instead of hiring long-haul carriers to fight the rush at the ports, shipping drayage moves products away from the port hustle and into areas that are more accessible. Drayage gives BCOs the option to deconsolidate at port into multiple drays or transfers all to a DC or railyard to deconsolidate there. 

Efficiency from drayage to delivery can be hard to come by, but it’s critical to maintain accurate inventory numbers. Inaccurate forecasting can pull from a shipper's working capital by accidentally being left with overstock. Overstock problems can be costly whether it requires more or longer warehousing than initially anticipated or when overstocked material has to be discounted to make room for more product. 

Tips for Improving Drayage Efficiency

Thoroughly understanding what drayage means in the supply chain can lead to more opportunities to maximize efficiency. Here are eight pointers that shippers can experiment with to improve their efficiency. 

  1. Track drayage with real-time status updates. Investing in a telematics system can minimize the avoidable costs found in a container’s lack of visibility.
  2. Keep everyone informed of potential changes in port appointment schedules. Shippers, brokers, and BCOs can add customer and carrier value with drayage appointment tech that automates notifications for everyone.
  3. Give drivers the flexibility to self-schedule port appointments. By partnering with local drayage drivers, shippers benefit from their expertise at the port.
  4. Diversify your pool of drayage service drivers. - Working with a variety of drivers minimizes the potential for tender rejection.
  5. Recognize that not all drays can be completed immediately, requiring temporary storage. Proactively having a plan for port side temporary warehousing gives shippers and BCOs an edge against driver shortages. 
  6. Have a plan for fast, clear, and concise container deconsolidation and distribution. Port container management forethought gets products to their end destination with less evadable interruptions.
  7. Maximize the use of dual transactions. - Using the same drayage location for incoming and outgoing products benefits shippers who work in both directions of their lane.
  8. Work with an expert in shipping drayage. Partnering with a company on the ground enables shippers and BCOs to focus on optimizing other areas of transport. 

Boost Your Shipping Drayage With Port City Logistics

Shipping drayage costs both time and resources when approached passively. By learning more about how drayage impacts shipping lanes, cargo owners and shippers are better equipped to keep their products moving quickly and smoothly out of the ports. If you’re looking to smooth out your drayage experience, connect with Port City Logistics to find the perfect logistics fit.

Topics: port drayage