Mar 28

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The Role of Technology in Drayage Services

5 minute read
Brian Kempisty
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Drayage service has become significantly vital in recent years as the logistics industry has evolved to embrace tech solutions to improve their businesses. Many of the slow manual processes that led to congestion and unnecessary fees have been replaced with automated, innovative solutions that have led to improved efficiency and fostered collaboration in the pivotal area of drayage. This article provides an overview of the unique challenges drayage providers are commonly facing in the freight world, showing some ways they can integrate technology and how they may reduce their operational costs.

What is Drayage Technology?

Drayage technology is a freight management system that aids in moving shipments. Drayage logistics technology helps companies improve their operations, automate certain tasks, and schedule appointments for pickups and delivery. Drayage tech also gives shippers real visibility over their supply chain, allowing them to track and trace their containers while on the water and throughout the lifecycle of their load’s journey. Rather than waiting for a container to be customs cleared to look for a drayman, Port X Logistics tracks the vessel and availability to pre-plan for drivers, equipment, labor, yard space, and warehouse space.

Challenges of Traditional Drayage Logistics Strategies

There’s a reason why shippers are incorporating tech to help improve their drayage service.  Shippers everywhere are embracing ways to help lower shipping costs, improve route optimization, and reduce detention fees. Here are some of the greatest challenges of traditional drayage strategies:

Lack of Visibility Leads to Late Shipments

Shippers need real-time visibility over their supply chains. A lack of transparency between service providers creates challenges that can easily disrupt the efficiency of your shipments. Most shippers still rely on manual load notifications sent by ops reps through emails or phone calls. When a problem comes up on a particular shipment, logistics coordinators must search for PO numbers through bloated email servers or internal databases. This could be a true nightmare for mid-market or enterprise customers with the volume large companies move each day. 

Poor Communication Between Parties

A lack of communication causes other significant challenges. When crucial information is not relayed properly or in a timely manner,  Carriers may miss their pickup appointment and be charged accessorial fees. Drivers may arrive at the wrong location, leading to re-routing or rescheduling fees and wasted time and money. And any delays due to miscommunication often mean products aren’t delivered on time.

A Lack of Data Makes it Difficult to Improve Complicated Processes

Data plays a crucial role in simplifying daily tasks found in logistics. A lack of data analytics leads to problems in shipment volumes, delivery times, and carrier performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are difficult to gain insights from without valid data and may become useless if they can’t be deciphered and shared. A lack of data makes it tough to identify trends or patterns, optimize routes and forecast future demand. Manual processes are time-consuming and prone to human error, but leveraging the data with technology can show opportunities for improvement. Plus, improper data analysis has an environmental impact, as trying to lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions becomes tougher.

Other Concerns in Traditional Drayage Systems

Here are some other challenges that traditional drayage systems must deal with:

  • Limited scalability
  • Lack of nationwide capacity
  • Fragmented markets with many vendors
  • Security risks
  • Driver shortages
  • Complying with all regulations
  • High drayage costs and fees
  • Limited capacity

By using Port X Logistics you can manage all of your drayage and transloading under one umbrella and have instant access to location and data with the click of a button.

How Drayage Technology Optimizes Operations

Improved drayage logistics technology has gone a long way to easing some of those concerns. Strides have been made to eliminate manual processes like emails, phone calls, and data entry and instead streamline communication and automate systems to become more efficient from end-to-end along the supply chain. Better technology allows empty miles to be reduced thanks to optimized route planning that improves fuel use and lowers costs. Here are some ways drayage technology leads to optimizing operations:

Live Tracking

Live, real-time tracking of shipments offers numerous benefits in drayage. It reduces wait times, costs, and fees while improving transparency and collaboration throughout the supply chain. It allows carriers and shippers to track progress and identify issues or delays instantly. Real-time visibility into shipments follows drayage containers from start to finish, helping with route planning and reducing deadhead miles. It also ensures you are complying if moving time-sensitive cargo, where temperature control must be tracked throughout, which also helps meet all regulations. Security is also improved when all stakeholders stay updated on a shipment status to ensure no disruptions. Tracking better data-driven KPIs also ensures all systems function correctly.

Streamlined Integration with Other Tech Providers

Integrating tech stacks into one platform everyone can access is often a complex endeavor. Drayage logistics technology helps simplify and automate those processes to help with real-time visibility and data analysis, leveraging innovation for better, more-informed decision-making. Integrating with other tech providers lets companies benefit by staying competitive and meeting customers’ ever-evolving needs. Everyone can streamline and reduce manual processes by integrating systems such as TMS, EDI, and WMS. Every company has different variations and nuances of what procedures are needed, so collaboration is critical to getting everyone in sync. Technology helps bridge the gap between companies having different visibility and data needs to properly match things up like the ETA and last free day. The technology ensures visibility is put to proper use, letting everyone receive the information they crave, even though there can be many disparate views. There may not be one exact solution, but the technology is there to find a way to continue to improve processes moving forward.

Access to Metrics Through Drayage TMS Allows Shippers to Improve Upon Past Performances

Studying metrics through a transportation management system can provide insights into KPIs, such as transit times, OTIF rates, delivery times, and carrier performance. Analyzing past and current data allows for improvement and optimization over time, helping companies make better decisions, such as whether they should switch to another carrier or helping them pinpoint bottlenecks and inefficiencies along the supply chain and work to improve them. By seeing what has gone wrong in the past, companies utilize better decision-making to increase customer satisfaction. A TMS allows you to always know where you stand in several metrics. Analyzing data will continue to play an important role, allowing companies to track their carbon footprint and make sustainability decisions.

Planning, Planning, Planning

It’s easy to see where the future of drayage technology is going, and there’s a reason why old manual processes are being left behind. Continual advancements in innovation are inevitable, and collaboration and real-time visibility will be musts as sides work together so that everyone benefits. Look for artificial intelligence to play a significant role, and companies will continue to strive towards sustainability and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are some things to look for in the future of drayage technology:

  • A continued move away from paper documents and manual processes
  • Complete documentation finished ahead of time to speed up processes
  • Advances in scheduling to reduce congestion and empty miles
  • Better scheduling and optimized routes to deal with any possible driver shortages
  • Continued analyzing of on-demand data in real-time to pinpoint obstacles
  • Constant communication and transparency between parties and real-time visibility into shipments
  • Stakeholders working together to share resources and strategies
  • Studying key performance indicators to discover inefficiencies along the supply chain
  • An increase in AI to study inefficiencies and increase safety while reducing costs
  • Companies staying up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies
  • A focus on sustainability and meeting eco-friendly goals
  • The rise of alternative fuel vehicles, with an emphasis on air quality and emissions, as battery technology continues to improve
  • Increasing customer expectations and demands to get their shipments on time and in full

Work With Port X Logistics to See How Technology is Shaping the Industry

Drayage technology is providing ocean shippers with tools to help streamline their operations, optimize their shipping lanes, and get more visibility over their supply chains. Automation, collaboration, and real-time tracking are helping shippers cut down their transportation costs and eliminate time-consuming tasks. Each day, thousands of shippers depend on Port X Logistics for not just port drayage service but also transloading and trucking. Port X Logistics is a fully integrated logistics provider that offers these services at every major port in North America, delivering live tracking to handle and manage your supply chain obstacles and eradicate unnecessary fees. Contact Port X Logistics to find out more about its port-to-door services. No matter the need of the final leg of the shipment, it has the ability to deliver it expeditiously.

Brian Kempisty