What is Port Drayage Trucking?

drayage truck at port

Everything You Need to Know About Port Drayage Trucking and Shipping

Port drayage trucking is typically moving containerized freight in and out of a seaport. Drayage trucking companies generally specialize in moving containers to and from a marine terminal. 

Learn more about working with Cargomatic as a drayage carrier or shipper here

Types of Drayage Trucking

There are three main types of drayage trucking companies: local, regional, and national. Local drayage trucking companies typically only operate within a specific geographic area within 100 miles of the port. Regional drayage trucking companies will transport containers to and from ports located within a larger geographical region. National drayage trucking companies will move containers to and from ports located throughout the country.

Most drayage freight moves over short distances less than 100 miles, however, the Intermodal Association of North America provides six classifications for the different types of drayage categories:

  • Drayage, Cross-Town or Inter-Carrier — A movement of an intermodal unit “across town” from one railroad to another for continuance of the move.
  • Drayage, Door-to-door — Retail drayage involving over-the-road movement of a unit to a customer location.
  • Drayage, Expedited — A movement of an intermodal unit over-the-road to get it there on time. This exceptional drayage usually involves time-sensitive freight.
  • Drayage, IMX or Intra-Carrier — A movement of an intermodal unit from a carrier’s rail hub to the same carrier’s intermodal hub. IMX drayage extends the reach of an intermodal hub.
  • Drayage, Pier — An over-the-road movement of an intermodal unit from a carrier’s rail hub to a port’s dock or pier.
  • Drayage, Shuttle — A movement of an intermodal unit either loaded or empty from a hub to another parking lot because the railroad has run out of room at the hub.

Drayage Trucking Equipment

The type of equipment used in drayage trucking depends on the size and weight of the container being transported. Given the specialized nature of drayage trucking, specific drayage equipment must be used by truck drivers to properly haul drayage containers.

Drayage equipment includes the drayage chassis or trailer that will carry the load and be hauled behind the tractor. The combination of the chassis and the tractor is called a semi-trailer truck. Chassis come in many different sizes and types, but they all share one key feature: they are designed to be easily detached from the tractor. This allows for quick turnaround times at loading and unloading docks. 

drayage trailers

The most common type of dray equipment is the tri-axle drayage chassis. Tri-axle dray chassis are so named because they have three axles instead of the usual two found on most trailers. This allows for more weight to be carried, which is essential for drayage since containers can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. The type of equipment used in drayage trucking depends on the size and weight of the container being transported. Containers can range in size from 20 feet to 53 feet long. Other types of equipment used in drayage trucking include flatbeds, step decks, and lowboys.

Drayage Shipping Rates

It’s important to know how to price drayage shipments properly in order to stay competitive and cover your costs. Drayage rates are usually charged by the mile, and there are a few different factors that can affect pricing. The first is the type of equipment being used – drayage companies typically have both standard and specialized equipment, and the latter will cost more to use. The second is the length of the haul – drayage companies typically charge by the mile, so longer distances will cost more. Finally, drayage companies may also levy a fuel surcharge, which can vary depending on market conditions.

Finding a Drayage Shipping Company

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the best drayage shipping company. The first is to make sure that the company has experience shipping the type of freight you have. There are many different types of commodities, and each one requires its own set of best practices. If you’re shipping a high-value load, you’ll want to make sure that the company has insurance in case of loss or damage. The second thing to consider is transit time. Drayage shipping can be slow, so you’ll want to make sure that the company can get your freight to its destination in a timely manner. Finally, be sure to ask about pricing. Drayage shipping rates can vary widely, so it’s important to get a few quotes before you choose a shipper. Companies like Cargomatic can provide you with drayage quotes so you can accurately estimate the costs of moving freight in your target markets. By keeping these factors in mind, you can be sure to find the best drayage shipping company for your needs.

Finding Drayage Trucking Jobs

Many truck drivers find drayage trucking jobs by working with shipping companies that specialize in drayage shipping (if you’re a drayage trucker looking to haul freight, sign up for Cargomatic to get started today!). Many drayage shipping companies provide truck drivers with drayage loads boards, an online tool that helps truckers and carriers find drayage trucking jobs. Drayage load boards typically list loads by origin, destination, and weight. Truckers and carriers can use drayage load boards to find loads that match their equipment and their availability. The Cargomatic mobile app allows carriers to easily manage drayage shipments while hauling drayage freight. 

driver app

Drayage trucking is a vital part of the supply chain that continues to evolve and it’s critical to know how to leverage these factors to ensure your business can succeed with moving freight. Better management of your supply chain leads to more efficient operations and happier customers.