What is Drayage Service?
Drayage is the name of the service that you will use to transport your goods from the port to your ecommerce warehouse. This is especially important for ecommerce retailers who manufacture their product in another country and import the finished goods to the United States.
In general, drayage is a specialty logistics service that is an essential part of the container shipping industry. If your goods have been shipped to the port in a container, they will need to be transported to your ecommerce warehouse via truck, ship or rail. According to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), there are more than 60 million drayage movements each year in North America. Drayage becomes part of your intermodal shipping strategy.
All drayage carriers are expected to have the proper bonding and licensing requirements. A drayage company will pick up containers from warehouses, rail terminals, ocean ports and harbors. The huge steel shipping containers will be pulled off of rail cars or ship decks and placed on the back of the freight trucks for transport.
How should I select a drayage service?
Here are some questions to ask when requesting a quote:
- How are rates for drayage calculated?
- Will I be able to track the shipment?
- Is there an extra cost to store empty crates or cartons?
- When is delivery to space scheduled?
- Is there a guaranteed timelines of delivery from pickup to dropoff?
These questions will give you knowledge of the fees that will be charged in advance so you can properly budget. Some drayage companies offer an all inclusive package that covers all steps on the process for one price.
In a retail or trade show setting, the driver from the dray service may have more flexibility in their schedule versus the driver working an ocean or rail transfer.
What are the Different Types of Containers?
Containers come in different size specifications and with unique functions.
Standard container sizes:
(Most containers are 6ft to 8ft tall.)
Containers can be made of steel or aluminum and will have a max weight restriction for each shipment. Refrigerated containers are use to transport goods that have a specific temperature requirement.
Drayage Container types include:
- Dry or standard
- Open top
- Flat Rack
- High Cube
By using standard sizes, the loading and unloading of goods becomes easy for a number of different transport modes. These are the same containers that you pass on the freeway on the back of trucks.
What happens when the container arrives at the ecommerce fulfillment center?
- The drayage service provider will contact your ecommerce warehouse to schedule an appointment for delivery.
- Once the container arrives at the the warehouse, the shipment is checked in and the products on the container are unloaded onto pallets for storage inside of your ecommerce fulfillment center.
- Once a full count of the inventory received in the shipment is complete, the quantities are updated in the warehouse management system and the goods are put away to their recorded inventory locations.
- The products are now ready to be shipped to fulfill any new orders from your online orders.
If you’re interested in being connected with our preferred drayage vendor, please contact us.