Simply put, container drayage refers to the logistics of shipping large containers a short distance via ground freight. If you’ve ever wondered how a rail car gets from point A to point B or the process that follows after it’s loaded onto a truck, this process is called ‘drayage’.

Drayage, intermodal, and cartage – what’s the difference?

You might hear the terms drayage, intermodal, and cartage used interchangeably, there are key differences in each. However, these 3 services depend greatly on each other to bring goods and materials to the customer.

Intermodal transportation involves moving large goods in the same containers using more than one mode of transport. As noted above, drayage is the movement of freight over a short distance that connects the modes of transport and can often be done in one driver shift. While drayage transports the entire container, cartage involves breaking the container down into smaller hauls to ship products over a short distance, typically within a town or commercial area.

Classifications of drayage

There are 6 different types of drayage to be aware of:

  • Inter-carrier drayage – Involves transporting an intermodal unit from one railroad to another, sometimes referred to as cross-town drayage.
  • Intra-carrier drayage – Refers to the movement of containers from one port, terminal, or rail hub to another and is often the longest drayage move. It is owned by the same carrier or for the same shipment.
  • Door-to-door drayage – Also known as retail drayage, door-to-door classification refers to road transportation of a container from the port or terminal directly to the end destination.
  • Shuttle drayage – Typically done when there is no room for the container at the hub and transported instead to another yard.
  • Expedited drayage – When a container needs to be delivered quickly, usually for time-sensitive goods.
  • Pier drayage – Movement of a cargo container or intermodal unit from a rail hub to a port or pier.

Where to book container drayage services

The growing demand for intermodal transportation in North America is, in turn, creating a higher demand for container drayage services. The current transportation challenges during the pandemic highlight the need to work with a logistic and transportation company that has its finger on the pulse of current economic trends and obstacles.

At Shadow Group, our operational teams have worked extensively with both intermodal and ocean port container drayage services. When you work with us, you’re working with a team that consists of exceptionally trained and knowledgeable individuals who will take on all the details from start to finish so that everything is completed with minimal hassle.

We are experts when it comes to supply chain management and the logistics associated with transporting your goods.

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