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Drayage, What is it, and When Do You Use This Term?

Posted by on March 22, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

If you work or have any contacts in the transportation and logistics sectors, perhaps you have heard the term “Drayage”, but otherwise most people are unfamiliar with the term. In this article we will go into what Drayage is and when the word is used.

The term is common enough in the international shipping industry. It refers to short distance container transportation, specifically short distance container transfers between:

  • Port A to Port B
  • Port to Warehouse
  • Port to final destination

However, it’s important clarify drayage only covers transfers in the same metropolitan area, i.e., when the departure and arrival happen in the same city. If the transportation is regional or national, then that is considered a different kind of shipping and the term ‘drayage’ does not apply.

Drayage can normally be finished in one step after good arrive in a port, or drayage can be one part of a longer process during shipping.

Drayage also has other additional meaning in the industry, if we’re speaking about the process of short distance transport of goods. This can be confusing, as these are separate, but related meanings. In some cases, drayage makes reference to the fee for shipping services. This use of the term is more common in container shipping in international commerce.

This is an additional charge for the trucking company, which is usually determined by prior negotiations. It is generally made before the container moves, and it’s a type of payment where it is important to clarify who is the responsible of the payment, as sometime this charge is paid by the seller, while other times it is payed by the buyer.

What is the drayage process?

Drayage in intermodal transportation or shipping transportation beginnings when the freight is received in the intermodal point, generally being a seaport or a warehouse. The shipload received is reviewed, it is separated if necessary, then loaded and the finally is taken to the next point of destination.

Usually, trucks are used for short distance transportation of commodities. The facilities are usually arranged to be close to various hubs, allowing rapid drayage services.

Where did the term ‘drayage’ come from?

Incredibly, this term born a long time ago, before the industrial age and other kinds of container shipping used in the past.

Drayage comer from the word Dray, which is defined by The Cambridge Dictionary as carriage pulled by horses. Back in earlier times, these animal were used to work in short distances for their physical limitations, they worked near to railroads or sea ports.

Back in earlier times, these animal were used near railroads or sea ports for short distance transportation, due to their physical limitations.

Transportation by horse continued until around of the end of the 19th century, and in the beginning of the new century the trucks started replacing horse and carriage logistical transportation.

Are there different types of Drayage?

According to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), there are several different types of drayage:

  • Drayage, Cross-Town or Inter-Carrier — This type of drayage makes reference to the movement of a container or intermodal unit across town from one truck to another.
  • Drayage, Door-to-door —This is a retail drayage where a unit is taken directly to a customer’s location.
  • Drayage, Expedited — This is rapid shipping, necessary when you have sensitive freight and that must arrive on time.
  • Drayage, IMX or Intra-Carrier — This is drayage between hubs of the same carrier. It’s a movement of a container unit from one hub to other hub.
  • Drayage, Pier — This is the movement of an container unit from a carrier’s hub to a Port.
  • Drayage, Shuttle — This is a movement of a container unit – either empty or with freight – to a different parking location. It happens when there isn’t enough space in the hub and a container needs to be moved somewhere else.

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