Curious to know what drayage is? When you fully comprehend the concept of drayage service, you can better optimize the logistics of freight deliveries over small distances. The term drayage is a logistics phrase that incorporates the shipping of goods over small-scale intervals utilizing ground freight. Drayage is a term that is used to describe the unique shipping services required to transport large receptacles and repositories for ships, trucks, or trains.

And this is crucial for port container drayage logistics; Calgary offers line haul transportation, container drayage as well as logistics solutions to aid with timely deliveries. Additionally, when it comes to port container drayage, Calgary has warehouses that offer housing services to freight from all over North America.

Understanding Drayage Service

In its simplest form, drayage is a service utilized for the logistics of transporting freight over small distances. It’s a critical component of intermodal freight transportation, and for this reason, it is an important piece of the container shipping trade. In what way can freight be delivered from a ship to a train? Furthermore, how can a large receptacle container go from a train to a truck? The answers to these questions can be found through drayage.

Drayage businesses and organizations remove and add repositories from storehouses, harbours, workstations, terminals, ocean ports, etc. This process unfolds by pulling enormous steel shipping receptacles off of ship decks or from train cars. Afterward, the container is then sent to a storehouse to be prepped for the next phase of the shipping procedure.

Generally speaking, the receptacles transported will usually remain in the same area or region. This is the distinct differentiator between national shipping and drayage services. Typically, drayage carriers can complete the delivery in a single shift.

Utilizing Drayage for Transportation

The time as well as the distance a drayage service travels to transport a receptacle is a small fraction of the total expedition. Once a container vessel appears at port, a fleet of drayage service vehicles promptly arrive to move the cargo to its destination.

Drayage can have a multitude of meanings regarding transportation. Sometimes it may simply be moved to another port, a particular warehouse, a storage facility, etc. However, the common denominator between all destinations is distance. Every destination will be within a specified span of the delivery location. Certain companies may expand upon these drayage services, while others may be more niche-focused — like doing only train-to-train drayage for example.

Drayage is a crucial step that must be taken in the shipping process in order to keep operations fluent and smooth. But despite best efforts, sometimes dilemmas still occur every so often, and many times, it can halt progress for hours, or in some cases — days. However, due to the short distances involved with drayage services, these situations are often solved with the shifting of resources.

Intermodal Shipping

The process of intermodal shipping involves transporting freight or cargo using several systems for shipping. This method may proceed using ships, planes, trucks, trains, etc. Generally, this form of shipping uses distinct containers so that goods can be moved using various modes of transport without having to be unloaded.

More than 90% of all international produced goods are transported in a container during some juncture of the trip. This entails that intermodal shipping is applicable to many types of freight. Drayage services can bind these receptacles of cargo from a certain intermodal juncture to another.

Drayage Categories

There are different drayage classifications based on the needs of the company in question. It is by no means a one-size-fits-all system. Here are a few of the drayage classifications:

Door-to-Door – Delivered by a truck to the customer

  • Shuttle Drayage – Transporting an intermodal section to a short-term stopping juncture. Most used when the area of delivery is full
  • Pier Drayage – Used to get large cargo to a pier or loading dock
  • Intra-Carrier Drayage – Taking cargo to two separate hubs that are in ownership of a single carrier
  • Inter-Carrier Drayage – The transport of goods between carriers. For instance, the transportation of goods from a train car to a truck terminal
  • Expedited Drayage – Cargo repositories are moved swiftly, this is often best suited for shipments needing quick turnaround times

Whichever category you choose will be based on what the requirements of your particular shipment are.

This determination must be made ahead of time by shippers. Additionally, a freight container may need to be moved with drayage services several times throughout the shipping process. The cargo, if transported via intermodal drayage would use more than a single transportation method prior to arriving at its final destination. Intermodal shipping makes up a large portion of the trade.

Each classification will cover several aspects of the transportation. The driver assigned might take the cargo a couple of hundred yards to a truck waiting to take the freight to a warehouse or storage facility.

The Cold Chain and Drayage Service

Shipping receptacles that have been refrigerated can make drayage a connective part in the cold chain. These components — also referred to as reefer containers — are produced to sustain a chilly temperature for perishable goods throughout the shipping procedure. They are utilized to transport certain goods that have to keep a particular temperature. Materials such as perishable food, pharmaceuticals, flowers, etc, are typically transported in reefer containers.

The cold chain has to remain intact, it should never be broken. This is especially important for services moving items such as fresh produce, ice cream, and other frozen goods.

Produced to work on one’s own, refrigerated containers remain chilled whether they are transported by truck, train, plane, or sea. Encased and insulated using close to one thousand pounds of foam, reefer containers exhibit the same properties and characteristics as your kitchen refrigerator.

The History: Cold Chain and Drayage Service

Present-day drayage systems utilize up-to-the-minute vehicles and contemporary containers. However, the history of this method actually dates back to the 18th century. In fact, many historians agree that drayage foreshadows the industrial age.

The phrase “drayage” comes from the word “dray”, and a dray was a wagon or cart pulled by horses. The dray horses of the time pulled hefty hauls of cargo or freight. And due to the fact that the freight was so incredibly heavy, it could only be pulled in short, small-scale expanses. This process often took place close to oceans and other large bodies of water, as well as train and canal terminals. The method of using dray horses and carts remained common practice up until the 1910s, when trucks were introduced.

Similarly, the cold chain has been around for some time as well. The 1840s saw the very first cold shipping deliveries. The method at the time? Shippers simply waited until winter arrived. They then delivered all their perishable goods on ice to sustain the frigid temperatures needed to keep the produce fresh. By the time the 1910s rolled around, the items were then placed on ice in trucks for shipment. The first refrigerated truck was introduced back in 1942.

Drayage Service: Why it’s Needed

Ports utilizing intermodal containers aren’t the only ones using drayage services. Trade shows, retail venues, shopping malls, etc, also use these important services. A good example of this would be the case of shopping malls. Getting the goods to the store requires a lot of management and governance with a drayage service provider to get the shipment from its origin to its destination at the store.

Trade shows are another good example; drayage services transport exhibits to and from the trade show location in an efficient and timely manner. When exhibitors contact the carriers, the shipment is delivered to the convention center for the trade show. Drayage services remain the uncelebrated men and women behind the scenes, ensuring the job gets done so that others look at their best — nobility at its finest.

Once the show comes to an end, the drayage service makes their return to transport all the materials back to where they came from.

Contracting Drayage Services

If you think you need drayage services, there are a few questions that you should consider asking:

  • How long will the delivery take from beginning to completion?
  • When is the space for delivery arranged?
  • Will there be an additional fee incurred for storing extra containers?
  • Is shipment tracking available?
  • How are rates determined?

Preemptively understanding the level of service as well as any additional fees can assist with the budgeting aspect of this whole process. Moreover, certain companies offer exclusive deals and special packages that can reduce the final cost. So it’s important to be on the lookout for those as well.

Kinds of Drayage Receptacles

The repositories for shipments come in all shapes, sizes, and dimensions. The standard criterion for containers is about 20ft, 40ft, or sometimes even 45ft in terms of length. Generally speaking, the majority of containers fall in the ballpark of about 6ft to 8ft in regards to height.

Every receptacle is made of aluminum or steel. Additionally (and understandably), there are maximum limitations for the weight of cargo containers. There is also a refrigerated repository available for transporting cargo that must sustain a particular temperature.

The kinds of containers available include:

  • Refrigerated
  • Flat rack
  • Open top
  • High cube
  • Standard or dry
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