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What are Drayage Carriers?

At Heavy Weight Trucking, we understand the importance of handling your freight with care and expedience. We specialize in drayage service all across US ports. Drayage carriers are an integral part of the container transport industry. We help to transport freight from ocean containers to locations around the country. Whether it is a short trip or over the road, we can help with your freight needs. 


What is Drayage?

Just like any other subject, it is important for us to have an understanding of what a drayage carrier is. To put it simply, drayage is essentially a speciality logistics service that carries freight over a short distance. This is a necessary part of the process for intermodal transportation. So necessary, in fact, that the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reports more than sixty million drayage movements every year in North America. Drayage carriers are used in order to move freight from rail cars to ships, rail to ship, and really any time a shipping container needs to be moved for a short distance. 

Just as one might assume, drayage carriers must be very careful when they are on the job. In order to keep this process as safe as possible, transportation companies require their operators to have the necessary bonding and licensing to operate the machinery. This ensures that the process remains as safe as it possibly can.

Operating drayage carriers requires attention to detail. As a drayage carrier, we usually transport ocean containers and rail cargo by loading them onto our chassis. After that, the container is hauled to either a warehouse or storage facility to prepare for the next step in the intermodal shipping process. 

Overall, drayage is a small, yet necessary part of the intermodal shipping process. In fact, operators tend to transport their containers via drayage very quickly once the container is delivered to one of it’s destinations. Usually, when a container arrives at any kind of port, a large group of operators immediately transports their containers from point A to point B. The process of drayage is efficient and necessary. 

loading ocean cargo

Drayage Classifications 

Just like most things, drayage varies from one point to another depending on what kind of classification it falls under. For example, drayage operators are tasked with moving shipping containers anywhere from a couple of feet to a couple of miles. In addition to that, different classifications of drayage are needed for different kinds of transportation. Here are the most well known drayage classifications according to the IANA. 

Expedited drayage: 

The process of transporting freight containers quickly. This is best for shipments that are time-sensitive. 

Inter-carrier drayage: 

This is what most people tend to picture when they think of drayage as a whole. Inter-carrier drayage occurs when goods are moved from one carrier to another. For example, a shipping container might be transported from a rail station to a trucking terminal. 

Intra-carrier drayage: 

Intra-carrier drayage requires that operators take freight to two different hubs owned by the same carrier. In this case, cargo might be transported from an intermodal hub to a rail hub. 

Pier Drayage: 

Pier drayage uses highways to get freight to the pier. This process comes in handy why one needs to move cargo from locations like a rail terminal to a shipping dock or pier. 

Shuttle drayage: 

Shuttle drayage includes moving an intermodal unit to a temporary stopping point. This kind of drayage is used when the hub of an origin is overcrowded. 

Door-to-door drayage: 

Door-to- door drayage occurs after a truck delivers a container to a retail customer. 

Rail cargo

As you can probably see, there are a number of different drayage classifications to choose from depending on what kind of service you might need. Additionally, it is easy to see that multiple different kinds of drayage can be and are used in intermodal shipping. Drayage is essentially the biggest link in the supply chain. 

Best Drayage Carriers

In the world of cargo shipment, there are clear leaders when it comes to the drayage industry. Heavy Weight Transport is a world leader in intermodal and drayage transportation. Our team of highly trained drivers have safely delivered freight from coast to coast for decades. 

The busy world of supply chain depends on drayage carriers in order to operate smoothly. Without these operators, there would be no way to transport freight within ports, railways, or any other station. This is something that we will continue to rely on due to the increased demand in e-commerce and trade within the last year. While drayage may seem like a small part of the intermodal transportation process, it is an integral step to satisfying the demands of consumers worldwide. Reach out to Heavy Weight Transportation today for all of your transportation needs.