Feb 01

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Understanding Drayage Shipping and Services: A Comprehensive Guide

4 minute read
Brian Kempisty
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Our globalized world is connected through the strength of the logistics industry. As many in this business know, maintaining a healthy supply chain depends on the ability to effectively plan, coordinate, and communicate the movement of shipments as efficiently as possible. With an estimated 80% of total global trade moved via ocean container shipping, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of having a super reliable partner to provide drayage services not just out of the ports but from rail yards, too.

Drayage is the crucial link that connects shippers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to their customers. This guide will help readers understand the different factors to consider when choosing a logistics provider to manage your drayage service needs.

So What Exactly is Drayage?

Drayage is a term in logistics that refers to transporting commodities off ships or out of railyards. Moving drayage freight usually covers short distances, from a port to a transloading facility or warehouse where the load gets reworked or moved off the container and onto a dry van, reefer, or flatbed. But sometimes drayage loads involve moving the commodity longer distances that require long haul trucks to transport the shipment to the destination. Each customer is different, and the drayage service needed for each load may have a set of specific instructions. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a drayage provider that offers a range of services specifically tailored to customers’ individual needs.

What Type of Drayage Services are Available for Shippers?

Drayage providers range in size, operational capabilities, and territory of specialty. For example, small drayage service providers may own and operate a few trucks that run only out of the port of Houston, Texas. Other drayage carriers may specialize in serving Midwest rail terminals and may only haul loads locally.

Larger companies, like Port X Logistics, operate out of all the major U.S. and Canadian ports and rail ramps, providing customers with cross-border service and flexible capabilities to fulfill a variety of shipping needs. Their combination of company trucks, company chassis, owner operators, and huge carrier network allows them to effectively service all ports and ramps in the USA and Canada. 

Let’s look at the types of services that drayage providers can offer.


Transloading is crucial in drayage services. It involves the movement of a shipment from one mode of transportation to another. This often involves transporting a load from port of entry or rail ramp and into a warehouse facility, where the load is either unloaded and put into storage or reworked and placed onto a truck, or multiple trucks that haul the load to its final destination. Freight forwarders, shippers, and BCOs need help getting their products off the port or railyard and to the customer’s doors ASAP. Most drayage service providers wait 2-3 days before the start transloading containers. Port X Logistics takes a proactive approach and starts the transloading process the same day the container arrives, helping customers expedite container transit to the end destination.

Truckload Service

Arguably one of the most important services a shipper should look for in a drayage provider is their ability to guarantee just-in-time delivery. But how is that measured? Most drayage providers may state their service is the best, but what shippers and BCOs should look for and expect is a company that provides end-to-end visibility, in real-time, on all their shipments. Being able to know about the status of your load throughout the entire journey, from the moment it embarks from the port, throughout its time on the water, and when it arrives at port provides a sense of peace of mind that few providers can offer. Whether it’s the final mile or port-to-door service, make sure your provider can offer the drayage transportation solutions your company needs.

Crisis Management

When managing a supply chain, logistics directors are often challenged to ensure their operations run as smoothly as possible. Certain challenges often get in the way, however, and it’s at that moment when you need a drayage service provider that offers flexibility to help manage potential supply chain disruptions. Whether the customer needs a container transloaded, or a single pallet pulled off and expedited, Port X Logistics has you covered. Sprinter vans, straight trucks, dry vans, and flatbeds are available on demand.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a change with your service provider — partner with a company experienced in providing cost-effective drayage shipping solutions that reduce time and costs.

Drayage is a Necessity

Drayage providers are the crucial link that connects shippers with their customers. Having a professional drayage company manage your supply chain can help streamline your operations, ensuring that shipped commodities arrive on time and in full. Shippers who work with drayage providers like Port X Logistics can expect the following benefits:

Guaranteed Capacity

Logistics managers are no strangers to the set of challenges that arise and directly affect their supply chains throughout the year. Aside from the regular seasonality of freight that often creates capacity issues for shippers, other factors, such as holidays, weather events, high fuel prices, and, well, the continued COVID-19 pandemic, can create headaches and capacity constraints. That’s why it’s important to partner with a drayage provider that takes pride in offering guaranteed truckload capacity throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Reduce Shipping Costs

Drayage shipping offers an affordable means for shippers to transport their commodities. Working with a provider that offers full drayage service at all major ports and rail yards in the United States and Canada offers shippers the flexibility to find the most cost-effective means to transport their goods. Port X Logistics reduces costs by proactively planning for the arrival of our customer’s containers. This allows us to help customers avoid expensive demurrage and per diem costs which have been very burdensome for shippers over the past several years.

Real-Time Visibility

Don’t be left in the dark with your freight. Having visibility over your shipments is the difference between a missed pick-up appointment, detention and demurrage costs, and late delivery appointments. Make sure you partner with a drayage provider that offers live tracking and real-time visibility on all shipments. Whether your load is over water, at the port, or over the road, Port X Logistics gives shippers the peace of mind that their shipments are exactly where they are supposed to be. 

Choose Port X Logistics for your Drayage Service Needs

Is drayage just drayage? Not with Port X Logistics!  Port X Logistics is dedicated to helping thousands of shippers and BCOs manage their drayage shipments and drastically reduce their overall transportation costs. Their technology empowers shippers with real-time visibility across the entire lifecycle of each container shipment. Shipments are tracked from the moment the vessel enters water, to the minute the container is delivered, ensuring that customers are never left in the dark on the status of their containers. Port X Logistics will also track the empty return, helping customers avoid costly per diem charges. Don’t wait any longer! Reach out to Port X Logistics to learn more about their no demurrage guarantee!

Brian Kempisty