What Is Drayage and How to Cut Drayage Container Costs


Shipping and transportation industry services concerning port drayage are constantly changing and adapting to current market trends and customer demands. Of all the services involved with efficient shipping,  drayage shipping services are among the most critical. According to a Supply Chain 24/7 article, “The truck driver shortfall hit 80,000 drivers in 2021 and is expected to grow to 160,000 by 2030.” Those statistics demonstrate how important drayage container shipping and transportation remains. 

Keeping the supply chain moving and overcoming issues related to backlogs, bottlenecks, capacity crunches, driver shortages, and supply chain disruptions is at the heart of drayage service implementation. Answering the questions of what is container drayagewhat is drayage operations, and how they impact transportation services comes down to understanding how dray shipping and container tracking are related to current trucking trends. Whether the focus is on international or domestic services, freight shipping drayage is complicated.

What Is Drayage?

Drayage is a term that gets thrown around a bit within the shipping and transportation industry. Drayage shipping and drayage container tracking services by design help improve delivery success rates and keep customer satisfaction high as possible. Dray shipping essentially is the retrieval of shipping containers from one location, usually a local port, and then moving that cargo inland to places that include distribution centers, shipping hubs, warehouses, and retail stores. 

By industry standards, port container drayage logistics and personalized drayage shipping are the transport of freight and other goods over short distances, something commonly known in the industry as the first mile. While the concept is pretty bare at face value, knowing what drayage is in shipping and how to define it goes a long way in shaping shipping services and improving drayage efficiency across multiple industries. Understanding what container drayage is helps shipped keep their eye on the prize and maximize first-mile delivery services.  

What Are the Core Characteristics of Drayage Shipping?

 Port container drayage logistics drive the supply chain in numerous ways and help management manage costs and profits. Knowing what icontainer drayage is helps to make drayage services profitable across the board. As highlighted by SupplyChainBrain, “US business logistics costs, or USBLC, rose 22.4% in 2021 to $1.85 trillion, representing 8% of 2021’s $23 trillion gross domestic product. Inventory-carrying costs rose by 25.9% in 2021, and transportation costs jumped 21.7% — in the ocean by 26.3%, for the road by 23.4%, and parcel carrier services by 15.2%.” Core drayage shipping characteristics to look for to improve drayage services, define what container drayage is,  and cuts costs include the following: 

1. Versatility, Adaptability, and Scalability

The most reliable drayage company should quickly and easily scale and adapt to current market trends and consumer demands. They need the versatility and predictive planning resources necessary to meet drayage container shipping and freight management requirements.

2. Outstanding Customer Service Opportunities

The best port container drayage logistics, the most innovative tools, and the best services only go so far. When things fall short of customer expectations, customer service makes the difference and can keep customers loyal to a particular company or provider.

3. Unrivaled Industry Insight and Expertise

The longer a drayage company has been in business, the more experience they bring to the discussion regarding  port container drayage logistics. Leading drayage companies have insights and guidance that can cut prices and streamline every aspect of drayage shipping.

4. Competitive Pricing Options

Another essential characteristic to remember when searching for a reliable drayage provider is competitive pricing. Knowing what is container drayage service excellence comes down to the price tag for many companies and technology-rich 3PLs today.

What Is Container Drayage Classification?

What is container drayage? When faced with that question, shippers and transportation service providers need to consider the core characteristics that separate a decent drayage shipping provider from an outstanding one. According to industry experts and managers, drayage classifications typical include:

  • Inter-carrier drayage – movement within a short distance between different carriers.
  • Expedited drayage – over-the-road transport for time-sensitive products or goods.
  • Door-to-door drayage – local carriers deliver retail orders to customer’s door.
  • Shuttle drayage – freight is temporarily held elsewhere to help alleviate port congestion.
  • Pier drayage – takes cargo to a dock or pier from another site via cross-docking

Understanding these dray shipping classifications can help shipping and transportation managers find the right match for their unique needs.

Tips to Lower Drayage Shipping Cost

Controlling drayage container shipping expenses comes down to how shippers approach the ‘what is container drayage’ question and how they deal with changing dray shipping rates and market trends. Supply Chain Quarterly, citing a recent report, pointed out that June drayage rates are up 28% compared to a year ago, fueled by port disruptions, and delays will likely worsen. The report also predicted a more than 18% increase in the national drayage spot rate for the third quarter of 2022, compared to a 7% increase during the same period last year. 

The following tips can make cost management easier across the board while considering the challenges and solutions related to the question of what is container drayage:

Lower Container Turn-Times

When weighing what container drayage service options make the most sense, it’s important to remember lower turn-times are critical for drayage shipping. Controlled and reliable drayage container loading and unloading times are something all team members should look for when defining the drayage meaning in logistics and expense management in the modern supply chain.

Take Advantage of Local Warehousing at the Port of Savannah

Managing drayage shipping services and utilizing the best drayage container management processes relies on local access to storage and distribution services. Local warehousing and distribution opportunities can influence operational costs and expenses. Taking advantage of local port container drayage logistics can further help with cost-cutting measures.

Consider the Total Risk of Accessorials, i.e., Fuel Surcharges

Like everything else in the modern supply chain, everything that goes into understanding what container drayage is and how to best manage drayage shipping comes down to cost management. Knowing accessorial fees, surcharges, freight rates, and drayage container expenses is vital to maximizing profits while redirecting costs from shipping drayage.

Deconsolidate Loads Away From the Actual Port, Using a Warehouse or Nearby Container Freight Station

Smart logistical planning and deconsolidation are critical in drayage shipping management and planning. Streamlining the deconsolidation process drayage containers and ensuring fast distribution and execution of dray shipping is possible with proper planning. Utilizing resources and available tools to streamline dray freight is the first step.

Take Advantage of Nearby Rail Ramps Rather Than Long-Haul Moves

Improving overall drayage shipping often involves rethinking and improving standard shipping, loading, unloading, and hauling services. Utilizing local rail ramps, short drive options, and faster drayage container hauling options can save time and money. Ports remain clear, drivers stay on the road, and customers receive orders faster without the expense of long-haul moves.  

Know Your Labor Costs

To fully understand what container drayage is and how dray shipping affects labor and other accessorial costs, it is essential to consider what goes into drayage shipping. The more hands that touch drayage containers, the more it will likely cost in terms of labor and operational costs. Streamlining the process helps keep drayage fulfillment strategies in check.

Keep Drivers Apprised of Changing Pickup/Delivery Expectations

Wasted time and effort add to drayage shipping costs. When drivers know when and where to pick up or drop off drayage containers, they can focus on these critical tasks, such as working with an expert drayage provider to improve customer experience. Mastering port container drayage logistics helps control expenses by keeping drivers on task. 

Pre-consolidate Loads Before Scheduling Drayage

The final step shippers and transportation service providers can take to streamline drayage shipping and cut costs are to ensure loads get consolidated and inspected ahead of time. Taking the time to package, organize, and group cargo ahead of time will make the process of scheduling drayage containers and loads as straightforward as possible.    

Choose PortCity to Answer “What Is Container Drayage” while Lowering Your Costs 

Of course, all those tips have a common denominator–absolute visibility into all operations and knowing which solutions provider will work best for your process. PortCity uses the resources and technologies to enable true collaboration across your transportation network, promoting lower container costs. Understanding what container drayage is and how drayage shipping logistics and services impact transportation management is a complicated and unique process. It involves mastering dray shipping and container tracking. Keeping tabs on current trucking trends, consumer demands, and drayage container movement can help shippers better plan and execute drayage-related transportation. Lowering costs and expenses related to port container drayage logistics is possible. It just takes the right partnership and access to the latest example of innovative tools and technologies. Connect with a drayage expert at PortCity today to get started and finally answer the question, “What is drayage in shipping?” 

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