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Drayage solutions are an effective way for your business to save time and money during the intermodal shipping process. While different modes of transportation – including trains, trucks, and cargo ships – are a company’s major focus when it comes to shipping, how those shipments connect and move from one transportation method to another can be an afterthought.

Here, we discuss the role of drayage services in intermodal logistics and how these services are used in some common industries.

What Role Do Drayage Services Play in Intermodal Logistics?

Drayage services transport shipping containers short distances from one mode of transportation to the next. For example, say your shipping containers were initially transported by cargo ship. At the port, a drayage team will take over and transport them to a truck chassis for the next part of the journey or their final destination. They can also transfer loads to and from a warehouse.

Drayage solutions come with many benefits for any company that uses intermodal transportation. These include:

  • Reduced movement of goods: Using a drayage service allows your load to stay in the same container throughout shipping even though different transportation modes are required.
  • Cost-effectiveness: This service costs less than other options on the market, such as air freight transportation or renting equipment or containers to temporarily store your shipment.
  • Reduced congestion: The continued movement of containers helps reduce congestion at ports and rail yards, which can quickly become overcrowded and cause supply chain delays.

Drayage Solutions by Industry

Creative solutions like drayage services increase shipping efficiencies for industries that ship goods of all sizes. Here are some of the most common industries that regularly benefit from drayage services.

Automobile Industry

You’ve probably driven on the highway next to truck drivers hauling new automobiles, likely on their way to a dealership. But did you ever think that some of the freight trucks you drive by may also be carrying cars? Even incredibly large, heavy loads like cars are often shipped in shipping containers. In fact, a standard 40-foot shipping container has the ability to hold up to four standard-size cars.

According to the Association of American Railroads, nearly 75% of the new cars and light trucks purchased in the US are also moved via freight rail. And because the United States imports so many automobiles, a drayage carrier is needed to seamlessly transport the cars from ship to train.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Some items need to be chilled or frozen during shipping, such as medication and certain foods. These items are shipped in refrigerated shipping containers known as reefers, which have a generator to keep the container at a controlled temperature. Pharmaceuticals typically require shipping in reefers and fast delivery speed since people’s health depends on them.

The majority of pharmaceuticals are transported by sea. This is where a drayage solution comes into play. When the cargo ship reaches its port, drayage teams will efficiently transfer the reefer from the ship to its next mode of transportation, preventing bottlenecks at the port and expediting the pharmaceuticals’ journey.

Agriculture Industry

Agricultural products such as soybeans, corn, and beef need to be shipped not only across the United States but to other countries as well. In fact, the United States is the world’s second-largest agricultural trader.

Agricultural products are often considered low-value goods, which makes sense when you compare the value of a shipping container transporting new cars vs. ears of corn. Because of the value of the products coupled with their high demand, cost-effective modes of transportation, such as freight trains, are essential.

Utilizing a drayage service for agricultural products also provides a cost advantage, as drayage is cheaper than alternative options.

Get Drayage Solutions That Fit Your Unique Shipping Process

Ultimately, drayage solutions take the complexity out of the short-haul transfer of shipping containers between different modes of transportation. There are many benefits to support using drayage solutions, no matter your industry.

DSL Logistics is the leading intermodal provider of drayage services on the West Coast, with more than 80 years of expertise. We partner with an exclusive network of drayage carriers to ensure every container is shipped with care and efficiency for our clients.

Simplify your shipping operations and reduce costs – contact us to request a quote today!