Container drayage – the term – is derived from the name of a horse-drawn cart, referred to as a dray, used in the 1800s and even into the 1900s as a method of transportation. In order not to injure the horses, a dray was only used for short distances. Eventually in the 1900s, trucks took over, but the term drayage stuck. Today, in the shipping industry, container drayage is the process of moving freight or a container short distances by truck – from one place to another, usually before or after the long-haul.
Imagine a container travels all the way from China to New York City and arrives at the port authority of NY/NJ – the largest U.S. east coast container port. Drayage gets it to its next destination – whether that’s a rail yard or another shipping hub.
Container drayage can involve other types of transportation – rail or ship – that’s called intermodal, or multi-modal transportation. Here’s another example: a container arrives at a port in New Jersey, but needs to be transported to a train in New York. The container gets loaded onto a truck and transported to the next terminal.
Drayage specifically refers to the short-distance movements – sometimes referred to as “the first mile” – a critical piece of the entire supply chain. Planning, scheduling and accuracy are important parts of container drayage, if the first mile doesn’t go according to plan, every step in the process after that can be jeopardized. Not surprisingly, congestion and other inefficiencies are still problems in many ports, resulting in delays, driver frustration, missed deadlines, and financial penalties. Since COVID, many of these issues have been made worse, due to short staff and supply-chain delays around the world.
Container drayage – including expedited drayage and door-to-door drayage – requires a dedicated and experienced logistics team. Fast and safe pick up of cargo, and smooth delivery to the next dock is crucial. Our staff members and logisticians at US Fly Freight are experts in the container drayage industry. We can handle containers up to 45 feet, and can tailor for the needs of HAZMAT shipments, dry cargo, out-of-gauge cargo (OOG) and much more. Plus, we offer real-time tracking of your container. Don’t trust your container drayage to just anyone.