Line of freight trucks exiting a port for drayage services

How to Choose the Right Drayage Provider

How to Choose the Right Drayage Provider

Drayage providers managing incoming shipments

Have you ever considered how shipments get from the port to your warehouse? This intermodal step, drayage, is crucial and can be easy to overlook.

Drayage services provide transportation for freight shipments between the port and a warehouse, or the next step in their journey inland. Because drayage providers deal with large cargo freights, choosing the right drayage provider is essential to maintaining your supply chain.

Understanding port drayage and what to look for in a drayage partner will help you choose an effective provider for your needs.

What Is Port Drayage?

Port drayage is a critical step in intermodal transportation. This process involves hauling metal shipping containers a short distance between a port and a warehouse or storage location, typically using ground transportation like trucks.

When freight containers are shipped long distances on cargo ships or rail cars, they're only shipped to the port. In other words, the long-distance freight carrier is only responsible for getting the freight containers to the port. Without drayage services, there would be no way to move the containers to a warehouse.

Drayage is an essential service for numerous industries, as many goods and products are shipped in freight containers. Most modern supply chains rely on drayage carriers to fill the transportation needs between locations. These services are important, helping to reduce shipping costs and ensure perishable goods reach their destination in time.

What Is a Drayage Provider?

A drayage service provider is a carrier that specializes in transporting freight containers to and from ports. As an integral part of the supply chain, drayage providers become logistical partners for your company.

Drayage partners typically offer several options for moving your goods through the supply chain. For example, you may opt to have your drayage provider pick up a shipment from the port and drive it directly to your warehouse or specified location. Another common service involves the drayage carrier driving the freight containers from the port to a railyard, where the shipment is carried via railway to continue its journey.


Drayage port worker overseeing cargo loading

How to Find a Drayage Provider

Because drayage providers can have a significant impact on the movement of your shipments, it's important to find and partner with a high-quality provider. With numerous drayage providers available to choose from, you should know what to look for to ensure you choose a reliable partner.

Here are a few aspects to consider when looking for a drayage provider:

1. Delivery History

Looking at a drayage carrier's previous work is an effective indication of how they'll work with you. This history will tell you about the provider's reliability, efficiency and consistency. You want to choose a drayage provider with an extensive history of on-time performances. If a drayage provider has a history of on-time deliveries, they'll be more likely to make consistent on-time deliveries for you.

Consistency is important when considering a carrier's delivery history because you need a partner that will continuously meet your and your customer's expectations. When your shipments arrive at your warehouse as scheduled, other aspects of your business can continue as expected, maintaining efficient business processes.

Another factor to consider when looking at a drayage provider's previous work is their reviews and customer testimonies. This is where you'll see how a drayage company has worked for other companies like yours. If other companies have had good experiences with a drayage provider, you'll be more likely to have a good experience, as well.

2. Dedicated Account Managers

Having a dedicated account manager can make a significant difference in your experience with a drayage provider. Your dedicated account manager should be a single, centralized contact rather than multiple points of contact (POCs). Dealing with more than one POC can get complicated and often results in confusion and miscommunication.

However, it’s not enough to simply be assigned an account manager. A dedicated account manager will have the following qualities and more, making them a reliable partner:

  • Responsiveness: A responsive account manager gets back to you promptly, regardless of what you're inquiring about or communicating. This responsiveness makes it easy to check on shipments, accounts and statuses and receive a timely response.
  • Proactive problem solving: Your drayage account manager should proactively reach out to you regarding potential complications, including anything from your shipment statuses to billing, and provide solutions. Rather than leaving complications up to chance, a dedicated account manager takes action to ensure issues are resolved efficiently and effectively while keeping you updated.

As every client is unique, you should expect your account manager to adapt to your specific needs and situations. Without one-size-fits-all services, you're more likely to get more unique solutions for your shipments.

Also, consider whether your account manager can anticipate your needs and suggest solutions for improved processes, cost savings and other important aspects. Your drayage provider should want the best for you because it also means the best for them.

3. Driver Quality

Drayage driver quality is also essential to consider when choosing a drayage carrier. Because the drivers are directly in contact with your shipments, you need to be sure they're reliable and value safety.

Look for a drayage provider whose drivers are rated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have Transportation Worker Identification Credentials. High-quality drivers should have clean driving records and act with professionalism on your behalf. Clean driving records also indicate your goods and cargo are in safe hands, reducing the risk of damaged, lost or delayed shipments, which would result in additional costs on your end.

Also, consider how the driver's professionalism and reliability reflect on your company. For example, if drivers show up late, make unscheduled stops with your cargo or behave unprofessionally, their actions will reflect poorly on your company since they're representing you while having custody of your cargo.

Drayage provider workers talking with each other

Trust Dr. Drayage for Your Drayage Needs

Finding the right drayage provider is necessary for efficient and safe freight container movement.

If you're looking for a drayage provider with strong delivery history, dedicated account managers and high-quality drivers, look no further than Dr. Drayage. Our expertise in drayage trucking and logistics makes us a beneficial partner for you. With a strong drive for effective drayage solutions, we'll ensure your shipments reach their destination.

We'd love to partner with you! Reach out to learn more about our services and how we can help you and to request a quote.