Drayage 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Drayage

DA Marketing
DA Marketing
May 31, 2023

Drayage 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Drayage

Welcome to Drayage 101; our blog series where we breakdown and define the basics of drayage. For our second installment, we wanted to build a solid foundation of what exactly drayage is and why it's important.

In the fast-paced world of logistics, efficient movement of goods is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. One essential component of the supply chain that plays a vital role in achieving this efficiency is drayage. In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of drayage, its importance in the supply chain, and the associated costs. Whether you are a transportation manager, an import manager, or other supply chain professional, understanding drayage will empower you to optimize your operations and drive cost savings.

Drayage Defined

Drayage is an integral part of the supply chain, playing a crucial role in the transportation of goods over short distances, typically within the same city or port terminal. In the context of container shipping, drayage specifically refers to the movement of shipping containers between the port and nearby warehouses or distribution centers. Specialized trucking companies equipped with the necessary equipment and expertise handle drayage services, ensuring the smooth and efficient transport of large and heavy cargo containers.

Container Drayage

When it comes to drayage, container port operations take center stage. The movement of containers relies on large semi-trailers and specialized vehicles known as drayage trucks. These trucks are owned and operated by expert drivers and trucking companies with in-depth knowledge of container handling. Drayage vehicles are capable of handling various container types, including standard dry containers, high cube containers, and chilled containers. This versatility allows for seamless transportation and transfer of different types of cargo.

Drayage container trucks

The Importance of Drayage

Drayage plays a pivotal role in streamlining inbound logistics:

  1. Prompt Shipping: Drayage ensures the timely delivery of goods, minimizing delays and ensuring customer satisfaction. By swiftly moving containers from the port to warehouses or distribution centers, drayage contributes to efficient supply chain operations.
  2. Reducing Port Traffic: Drayage trucks serve as crucial intermediaries, transporting containers between terminals, warehouses, and ships. This helps alleviate port congestion, expedites the overall transit process, and ensures the smooth flow of goods within the port ecosystem.
  3. Timely Return of Empty Containers: After delivering a shipment, carriers must promptly move containers to the next shipper. Drayage services play a vital role in efficiently relocating empty containers within the same area. Moreover, the return of empty containers and chassis is essential to maintain the availability of equipment for future shipments.
  4. Supply Chain Balance: Drayage acts as a critical link between shipping facilities, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of containers throughout the supply chain. It facilitates the synchronization of various logistics operations, optimizing overall efficiency and coordination.
  5. Cost Savings: Proper management and optimization of drayage operations present significant opportunities for cost savings. By streamlining processes, enhancing route planning, and effectively utilizing resources, transportation and import managers can reduce expenses and improve profitability.

Understanding Drayage Costs

Drayage costs encompass various components:

  1. Base Drayage Fees: The weight of the freight or container determines the base fee. Typically, every 100 pounds of weight incurs a basic cost, rounded up to the nearest hundred or two hundred pounds. The drayage rate, specific to the port and company, is then applied.
  2. Line Haul Rate: This cost covers the transportation of containers between two locations and is determined based on the mileage of the trip. Longer distances will incur higher line haul rates.
  3. Ocean Terminal Charges: Ports levy fees to cover container processing, storage, and maintenance within the terminal. These charges contribute to the overall drayage costs.
  4. Chassis Usage Fee or Chassis Split Fees: When using chassis for container transportation, additional fees may apply. If the chassis is not readily available at the port or needs to be returned to a specific location, a chassis split fee may be charged.
  5. Freight Holds: Certain containers may be subject to holds due to outstanding payments or other administrative reasons. These holds result in additional fees, such as stay fees or examination costs.
  6. Drop Fees: In cases where a truck drops off a container at a warehouse but returns later to pick up the empty container, drop fees may be incurred. This fee accounts for the additional handling required.
  7. TMF (Pier Pass Traffic Mitigation Fee): The TMF is a fee imposed by terminals when containers require a purchased Pier Pass. Without a purchased pass, drivers may be turned away, resulting in additional costs.
  8. Demurrage: Demurrage fees are levied when a loaded container is not pulled from the terminal by the designated deadline. These fees aim to incentivize the timely removal of containers and avoid congestion at the port.
  9. Detention: Detention fees occur when an empty container is not returned by the specified date. The number of days allowed for container return can vary by steamship line, so it is crucial to keep track of the return deadlines.
  10. Pre-Pull Fees: To avoid demurrage fees associated with containers remaining at the port for an extended period, containers may be pre-pulled from the port and stored in a yard until delivery. Pre-pull fees cover the cost of this intermediate storage.
  11. Yard Storage Fees: If containers need to be stored in a yard before being transported to their final destination, yard storage fees may apply. These charges are typically calculated on a per-day basis.
  12. Overweight, Hazardous, or Reefer Charges: Containers with exceptional weight, hazardous materials, or refrigerated goods may incur additional handling fees or require special equipment. These charges account for the unique requirements associated with these containers.

Drayage plays a crucial role in the efficient movement of goods within the supply chain. By understanding the definition, significance, and associated costs of drayage, you can optimize your operations, improve customer satisfaction, and drive cost savings. With this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of drayage and make informed decisions to streamline logistics processes.

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