Intermodal drayage is an essential part of the transportation process. Many logistics professionals rely heavily on these services to successfully complete their deliveries on time. In order to properly leverage drayage opportunities, however, you need to understand what they involve and how they’re primarily used.

Here’s a quick breakdown of intermodal drayage and the value it can bring to your shipping operations:

Drayage Defined

Drayage simply refers to moving products over relatively short distances. In some cases, companies can use this service for smaller trips, but it’s typically used for transporting containers. There are many different forms of drayage as well. Whether it involves trucking cargo to its final destination or the next stage of transportation, the entire process usually takes place in the same city from start to finish.

It really only requires a single transfer that makes up just a portion of a lengthier haul, but sometimes people also use the term to describe the additional charge you have to pay for the service itself. While drayage may play a smaller role in shipping overall, it’s by no means an unimportant one.

Types of Drayage

It’s helpful to know the varying types of drayage classifications to avoid any potential confusion. Here are the six most common categories based on information provided by the Intermodal Association of North America:

1. Pier drayage

This type refers to the process of trucking containers from a rail hub to a dock or pier.

2. Door-to-door drayage

For this method, retail goods are transported to a customer’s door primarily using roadways.

3. Inter-carrier drayage

As the name implies, this type involves moving cargo between multiple carriers over rail or road.

4. Intra-carrier drayage

Unlike the previous method, only one carrier manages freight movement from rail to other modes in this process.

5. Shuttle drayage

This particular process takes containers, either empty or full, from their origin to a parking lot when there’s too much traffic at a certain port or rail hub.

6. Expedited drayage

This method is used for time-sensitive shipments requiring speedy over-the-road transportation that’s especially effective.

The Value of Drayage

Specialty logistics services like these help close the gaps along an intermodal supply chain, which is what makes them such a crucial part of moving large containers. Drayage not only streamlines shipping operations to ensure smoother deliveries, but it can also help shippers more quickly respond to any unexpected delays due to the fact that the service covers such little ground.

Getting your freight to its next mode would not be possible without the efficiency of drayage. Also, because carriers that offer drayage have to have the necessary licenses, shippers can rest a little easier knowing that their products will be adequately protected. If you’re searching for a drayage provider, or you require any other intermodal services, visit O’Neill Logistics to see what our team has to offer.