Today’s Drayage Market and How to Navigate Its Complexities
The North American drayage market remains complex due to port congestion and other supply chain disruptions that are all too common in the days following the COVID-19 pandemic. So how can companies successfully navigate these challenges? The key is to understand the drayage market.
At Bender Transportation, our roots go back to 1984. Read on to learn how we’re tackling drayage in today’s unpredictable, volatile market.
What Is Drayage?
Drayage is a term in the shipping and logistics industry to describe moving goods across short distances, commonly called “the first mile,” particularly related to container shipping transported by ground freight. It’s a part of the supply chain process that can include trucking cargo from port to port, then to a rail yard, then finally to its intended destination, with designated departure and arrival points in the same area.
Historically, the term drayage refers to picking up containers from a port, but today’s drayage loads, while most originate from a port, can include stops at other ports, yards, or warehouses, to name a few, before it reaches their final destination. Further, drayage can be used to describe the fee charged for services.
Drayage is so important to the freight industry because the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) estimates that there are more than 60 million drayage movements annually in North America. The IANA classifies drayage in the following categories.
- Expedited Drayage for time-sensitive road freight.
- Inter-Carrier Drayage is used to transfer goods from one transport method to another, such as between trucks and trains.
- Intra-Carrier Drayage is commonly used by a transportation company that transports goods between the carrier’s own hubs.
- Pier Drayage transfers goods from a rail hub to another railway hub or pier unit/hub.
- Shuttle Drayage: stores units temporarily in a parking or storage area.
- Door-to-Door Drayage: brings containers directly to the end-use customer using trucks over road networks.
Challenges with drayage include port congestion, equipment shortages, vessel schedules, ERDs (Earliest Return Dates), and driving recruitment. Fluctuating point of entry demands require your network of assets, scale, and workers to pivot quickly and efficiently to accommodate changing needs. There are also complexities related to delay costs, missing documents, or chassis dislocation, when there are enough chassis available at the container port, but they might not be at the correct terminal at the right time.
Drayage challenges like those previously mentioned require dynamic and agile solutions. At Bender, most of our business is in exporting, so this includes repeatedly checking ERDs and vessel schedules as part of our daily routine. We’re constantly working behind the scenes to ensure that our trucks keep moving, all with attention to detail, patience, and being able to change plans at a moment’s notice to get the job done.
Bender Helps You Stay Ahead of Drayage Issues
In the congested world of today’s drayage market, you need to work with a transportation company that knows when and what to do to keep your costs as low as possible while still delivering a high level of productivity. It’s also essential that your drayage carrier has the proper bonding and licensing.
When you’re ready to overcome the drayage challenges we’ve talked about here, contact the Bender Transportation team. We have the scale, experience, and expertise to keep your goods moving where they need to be while providing an unmatched user experience and dedication to your satisfaction.