What to Look for in a Port Drayage Service Provider

Posted by Port City Logistics on Sep 9, 2022 8:36:41 AM

Supply chains across the globe are under pressure as more and more ports become congested, loading times continue to rise, delays occur, and both demurrage and detention fees increase. These issues can be paralyzing or crippling to your business, and finding the right port or container drayage trucking service provider to partner with is crucial.

Over 80% of global shipping today involves containers, which depends on precise planning and tracking to benefit you and your customers. For these reasons, it’s essential to understand the drayage service, how it impacts your business, and how to select a trustworthy and reliable provider for your needs.

A Recap of What are Port Drayage Services

When it comes to asking what drayage service is, it can be summed up as an essential part of logistics. More specifically, these services involve the movement of shipping cargo from one location to another over a short distance. It is one step along the process that can make or break timing and meeting schedules and goals.

Port Drayage Services, in particular, are a specialized service involving the hauling and transferring of standardized metal shipping containers from ports or warehouses for conveyance onto ships, trucks, or rail cars.

The port container drayage logistics may not seem overly complicated, but with today’s influx of mass imports, they can easily become bogged down. With a lack of timely services and the resources to provide them, your shipping costs can increase and any perishable merchandise is lost during transit delays.

As such, these dray services play an essential role in the overall operation of the modern supply chain, connecting various points along the way.

Drayage Market Forces Causing an Increase Drayage Service Demand

Recent and ongoing market forces are causing an increase in drayage service demand. As a result, drayage market participants face new and frustrating challenges that need a solution sooner rather than later. These challenges include a chassis shortage, port trucker frustration, more owner-operators in the market, and consumer online ordering behavior. As a result, drayage companies are contending with several issues at the same time.

Chassis Shortage

A chassis shortage is creating delays. With restrictions placed on international imports of chassis and the inability of domestic manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production, the demand for reliable drayage service continues to rise. Chassis are also being pulled out of circulation as they often become immobilized due to a lack of space, labor, and available drivers.

Frustrated Port Truckers

Port truckers are experiencing increasing frustration surrounding loading and unloading wait times. They desire to work and are blaming these delays and bottlenecks on others.

Surge in Owner-Operators

In response to the increasing demand for drayage due to the import surge these last few years, many new owner-operators have entered the market. This action has altered the drayage capacity and complicated the efforts to move higher cargo volumes out of the ports, especially in those where driver appointment systems are non-existent.

Import Increase from eCommerce

The spike in eCommerce is complicating matters even more. Consumers have increasingly chosen to purchase goods and services online vs. in person over the last two years, which has led to a surge in imports.

The Importance of Drayage and Why You Need Port Drayage Service

Container drayage services are an integral part of the global supply chain. These services play a crucial role in meeting shipping and delivery deadlines. The logistical elements involved define the service, from retrieval of a container at the port to where it is held in storage, all before moving on to the next step in the supply chain process.

Consider the cut flower market to help you imagine how important drayage trucking services are. This market has grown exponentially over the last several years, largely moving between South American container drayage companies to Netherland auction houses. Once there, wholesalers buy in bulk and send them to retail outlets in distant locations, including the US. Due to the blossoms’ perishable nature, the shipment must be made in refrigerated containers, and temperatures maintained within specific ranges.

Thanks to drayage companies, these flower shippers can confidently conduct their business, trusting that the cut flowers will get to their final destinations safely.

Now that you know the answers to what is a drayage company and why it is important, here are why you need a port drayage service provider.

Port drayage service plays a strategic and timely role in the movement of goods. Without its precise and superb coordination, deliveries can be affected, costs can skyrocket, and frustration can occur both for the shipper and the customer.

So, how do you choose a drayage business to work with?

What to Look for in a Drayage Services Provider

Choosing a drayage trucking services provider or going with the first one available to accept your shipments can be a mistake. Instead, step back and carefully analyze your needs and the individual characteristics of each drayage company.

The hallmarks of a great drayage trucking service provider are as follows.


Communication is key to everything you do, so you need a drayage service provider who is highly efficient across all communication channels. You want to rely on them to provide informed updates, keeping you in the loop at all times and offering reliable access to answers for any of your concerns or questions.

At Port City Logistics, our knowledge and experience with the NAVIS port system, along with the use of various transportation technologies, allow us to keep you up-to-date on the status of your cargo whenever you need it. Being responsive to our customers is a critical component of who we are.


Along with timely communications, transparency is invaluable for a drayage service provider. Look for one that values quality data and utilizes the best technology to help collect and process that data.

Here at Port City Logistics, we believe we build trust and integrity through transparency in our communications and interactions. We utilize a leading supply chain collaboration tool and tech stack that offers our customers a view of the status and location of shipments at all times.


Accountability is a crucial component of reliable container drayage services. Excuses are never acceptable, and you’ll need to be wary of any drayage business that offers these in place of accountability measures.

At Port City Logistics, we find it important to hold ourselves accountable to our customers' expectations. This means that we handle the process end-to-end, with no concern about disruptive or inefficient silos, and we will never tell you something is not our job. We take care of the details and practice accountability from start to finish.

Flexible to Meet Customer Needs

No two organizations are the same, so drayage needs will vary and be unique. Yours may remain consistent or change over time, requiring your drayage services provider to offer flexibility.

With a combination of technology, expertise, and reliable partnerships to help meet customers’ demands, Port City Logistics avoids rigid expectations. Instead, it works with you to determine how to meet your changing needs in the best, most efficient, and cost-effective way.

Deep Experience

Your drayage provider will undoubtedly have some level of experience. However, focus on finding one that offers a deep experience so you know you can count on them with any issue that may arise.

At Port City Logistics, excellence is what we strive for in everything we do and what our customers should come to expect. We back this up with deep experience in providing beneficial drayage services. Our experience allows us to be solution-oriented, understanding what changes can occur and what problems can appear.

Ability to Store Goods

Look for a drayage provider that has the ability to store your goods in a warehouse whenever needed temporarily. If the drayage business does not own these assets, determine if you can count on the arrangements they may have with others.

Port City Logistics offers a distinct advantage in this area, providing approximately 2 million square feet of warehousing space divided up among nine facilities. With this ability to store goods, customers experience seamless drayage services and a more streamlined ability to move goods from point to point.

Includes a brokerage Division to Help Secure Inland Transportation

To help ensure a smooth shipping and transporting process, select a drayage service provider that offers a brokerage division to help you secure inland transportation. Partnering with such a business means that you will build an ongoing relationship invested in your particular supply chain needs.

At Port City Logistics, we provide comprehensive brokerage services in addition to our warehousing, distribution, and transportation services. With us, you engage with a single point of contact for every process step – from port drayage to final delivery. We deal with all the organizing and scheduling so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Best in Class Tech Stack

As logistics technology continues to evolve, you need to know that your drayage services provider is staying on top of the latest and utilizing the ones that will be most beneficial for you, the customer.

In other words, you need a drayage business that takes technology seriously, using it to increase efficiencies and speeds. One way Port City Logistics meets this requirement is by incorporating the use of Turvo TMS, the world’s leading supply chain collaboration application, as part of our best-in-class tech stack. We can create a seamless customer experience allowing for effortless appointment scheduling, real-time tracking, and more.

Multi-Modal Experience

Your drayage services provider needs to have multi-modal experience in order to provide you with viable transport solutions when and if you need them. Port City Logistics excels at intermodal drayage services by providing customers with solutions to meet their logistic nightmares head-on and get back on track and on schedule efficiently.

Ability to Optimize Upstream at the Order Level for Downstream Efficiency

When it comes to efficient port container drayage logistics, you need a provider that has the ability to optimize upstream at the order level to increase the efficiency downstream. A seamless flow is difficult without this initial effort, so involving your drayage provider early on will benefit the entire process. Port City Logistics can help with this.

Focus on Culture

Company culture is often overlooked as a characteristic of a drayage service provider. However, to be efficient and meet customer needs, that culture is an important element.

At Port City Logistics, our company culture is crucial to who we are and how we provide customer service. Within that culture, safety is one of our top priorities, ensuring our teammates can successfully meet company and customer goals, needs, and expectations at all times. Our culture also focuses on teamwork, collaboration, excellence, respectfulness, and responsiveness.

6 Big Benefits of Great Drayage Service

Great drayage service can play an important role in a more successful and seamless supply chain process. Here are six big benefits to keep in mind.

1. Cost

Affordability is a significant benefit of a great drayage service. Trucks as a method of transportation can be cost-effective and efficient, while other alternatives are often more expensive. Also, a drayage service provider like Port City Logistics takes the time to optimize processes to maximize cost-efficiency and pass those savings on to customers.

2. Accuracy

Accuracy and access to timely data are crucial to your business. With a drayage service provider on your side, you can track containers in real time and also gain access to reliable data when you need it.

3. Security

The highest theft potential can loom between when your cargo arrives in a port and when it takes to arrive at the next intermediary location. A professional drayage service provider can provide maximum security by diligently following specific regulations and guidelines.

4. Efficiency

Drayage services offer high efficiency in keeping activities functioning seamlessly. As a result, delays can be prevented, and space and resources are used more efficiently to allow you to focus on additional aspects of your business.

5. Flexible, Resilient Supply Chain

Remaining flexible to customer needs and the current state of the supply chain is another benefit of a great drayage service provider. Port City Logistics ensures this by relying on its multimodal abilities, experience, and ongoing commitment to its customers.

6. Better Planning

Great drayage service allows for better planning with technology as an import comes to port. This technology can assist with planning for transloading/drayage, temporary warehousing, and even brokering for inland distribution. Your port operations, then, will greatly benefit from using a drayage business.

Select Port City Logistics as your Drayage Service Provider

Choosing the right drayage service provider is crucial to ensuring your business's seamless supply chain process. The initial transfer of a short distance may seem minor, but it can affect or impact the next stages in the process if not handled by an experienced and dedicated drayage service provider like Port City Logistics.

With today’s ongoing challenges, you need the experience and dedication of a team that can meet your needs and expectations. Contact us today to learn more about how Port City Logistics can help.

Topics: drayage services