When it comes to transporting goods, sometimes the logistics of getting them from point A to point B can be complex. That’s where drayage comes in. No matter where you're transporting goods to, chances are you’ll need drayage.

But what exactly is drayage? And how does it impact the movement of goods? In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of drayage, including various types and the costs associated with this service. Here’s what you need to know to navigate the logistics landscape effectively.

What is the meaning of drayage?

Drayage is a type of freight transportation that moves goods over short distances, usually by truck. This usually occurs within the same geographical area, typically from a port to a nearby storage or distribution centre.

Unlike long-haul trucking, drayage moves shipping containers or cargo over a short distance, helping goods transition smoothly between transportation modes, such as from a ship to a train or truck. It’s an important step in getting products from where they start to where they need to go.

Why is drayage important?

Drayage is a key part of the supply chain. It moves goods from ports to warehouses or distribution centres quickly. This helps keep cargo flowing smoothly, avoiding jams at ports, and making sure goods get to where they need to go efficiently.

Drayage is important for global trade because it lets shippers send products long distances using different types of transportation. It’s also crucial for intermodal transportation, where goods move between ships, trains and trucks without being handled directly. The efficiency of the drayage process directly impacts the overall speed, cost, and reliability of shipping, making it a crucial element of the global trade ecosystem.

The role of drayage in the shipping process

Drayage does more than just move goods. It can also cover storage, consolidation, and customs clearances. These services tackle the challenges of global trade, making drayage vital for modern logistics.

Types of drayage services

The logistics industry has different kinds of drayage services to meet specific needs in the supply chain. Knowing about these variations helps you see how important and flexible drayage services can be.

Port drayage

Also known as pier drayage, this involves the transportation of cargo containers from a port to another location, often a warehouse or rail ramp within the same local area.

Inter-carrier drayage

This service handles the transfer of cargo containers between different carriers at transportation hubs. This is vital for coordinating the movement of goods when changes in transport modes are necessary, such as shifting from a rail service offered by one carrier to a trucking service provided by another.

Intra-carrier drayage

This is the movement of containers by a single carrier. It moves cargo within the same carrier’s network, such as from a rail terminal to a warehouse, all under a single carrier’s umbrella.

Expedited drayage

As the name suggests, this service ensures cargo reaches its destination as quickly as possible, and is particularly valuable for perishable goods or items in high demand.

Long-haul drayage

Although drayage usually involves short distances, some situations require cargo to be transported over longer distances, like from a port to a distant inland distribution centre.

Shuttle drayage

Shuttle drayage can help prevent bottlenecks by moving excess containers to temporary storage. This can sometimes happen when a shipping hub has run out of room.

Door-to-door drayage

Often used in e-commerce situations, door-to-door drayage moves goods from the transport hub to the final customer.

Drayage Costs and Charges

Understanding the cost structure of drayage services is crucial for businesses to budget their shipping expenses accurately. Drayage costs can vary based on several factors, including distance, cargo type, and service level required. Common charges associated with drayage include: Understanding the cost structure of drayage services is crucial for businesses to budget their shipping expenses accurately. Drayage costs can vary based on several factors, including distance, cargo type, and service level required. Common charges associated with drayage include:

Understanding the cost structure of drayage services is crucial for businesses to budget their shipping expenses accurately. Drayage costs can vary based on several factors, including distance, cargo type, and service level required. Common charges associated with drayage include:

  • Fuel surcharge: This changes based on fluctuations in fuel prices.
  • Line haul rate: Calculated on the distance of the trip, the cost of transporting containers between two points.
  • Chassis usage fee: Fees for the use of a chassis during the cargo's transportation.
  • Drop fee: Charged when the truck delivers a container to a warehouse and returns to collect the empty container at a later time, rather than it being emptied immediately.
  • Congestion fee: Applied in scenarios where congestion at ports or terminals extends the time required for cargo handling.
  • Yard pull (or pre-pull) fees: Charged when a container is picked up from a port and stored in a warehouse before delivery.
  • Special handling charges: Additional handling or special equipment required for hazardous, refrigerated, overweight freight

By pre-emptively accounting for these charges and understanding the dynamics of drayage costs, you can make informed decisions that align with both your logistical needs and budget constraints.

The future of drayage

As an integral part of any transport and logistics operations, it’s easy to see why drayage usage is growing. According to Technavio research, the total drayage market size is expected to increase by over USD 3 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 2.52% between 2024 and 2028.

It’s clear that drayage plays an essential role in connecting the dots within the shipping process, enabling the efficient and effective movement of goods across the globe. By bridging disparate modes of transport and smoothing out potential friction points along the supply chain, drayage services ensure the world's trade systems operate smoothly and reliably.

At Maersk, we have a range of drayage and logistics solutions to help get your goods from A to B. Explore our inland services.

注册订阅物流时事通讯

接收新闻和见解,帮助您驾驭供应链,了解行业趋势,并制定物流战略。

感谢您注册

您现在已经注册接收新闻通讯。您很快将收到一封电子邮件,其中将说明如何对该新闻通讯进行偏好设置,以及如何取消订阅。 

发生意外错误

很抱歉,我们无法完成您的新闻通讯订阅注册。