What to look for in a good drayage company

Posted October 18, 2022

Drayage is part of the supply chain process and the heart and soul of what we do at C&K Trucking. In short, it’s a component of intermodal transportation that uses trucking to move products from one area (railyard or port) to the next.

Few people realize how the lives of the consumer are touched by drayage, every day. That mail order package they receive on their front stoop, the birthday gift they opened the other day, the everything that stocks the shelves of their favorite stores have all been part of drayage operations.  A drayage company transported them from their manufacturer or production plant to a distribution center, and onto its final destination which puts the merchandise at the consumer’s fingertips.  

What is so Important About Drayage Anyway?

Drayage companies offer short-distance support and move freight within the same region or crosstown. If you are looking for a drayage company to handle your freight, they must be trustworthy and experienced enough to successfully handle the movement of freight between intermodal ports, and between ships to rail or rail to trucking.

Drayage companies are the ones who make sure that the transfer of your freight from one method of shipping to another happens easily and efficiently. When a shipping container full of goods arrives at port, your drayage company handles the rest of that container’s journey.  

As simple as it sounds, even for a professional drayage company, it can be anything but easy to manage. Port congestion, weather delays, or other factors can impact drayage and put the supply chain behind the ideal timeline. Experienced, agile drayage companies can help you navigate such situations.  That’s why it’s so important to choose the right drayage company for your company’s needs.

Looking for a Drayage Company

In looking for a partner to help you handle your drayage, there are many variables to explore. You should do your homework on any drayage company you are considering and get referrals from the customers for that drayage company. As you research and interview different drayage providers, remember to look for these top six things:  

Capacity. One of the biggest challenges companies have today is finding a drayage company big enough to handle their loads. C&K Trucking is one of the largest independent intermodal drayage companies in the country. We have a burgeoning partner network consisting of hundreds of owner-operators and trucking companies with expanded capacity for chassis and drivers. Customers tell us we are big enough to handle their work but small enough that they don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Often, we can accommodate drayage where other companies can’t.

Experience.  An experienced drayage company will not only professionally handle your drayage but will also be able to offer solutions when hit with supply chain disruptions. This is where the experience of your drayage team becomes critical. At C&K Trucking, our senior leadership is comprised of more than 100 years of experience in the industry.  Our long-term relationships and experiences with major ports and rail systems are helpful when unexpected port congestion, weather delays, and other random events force a change in drayage services.

Technology. Ask about the drayage company’s technology and how they use it to serve your needs. How will they monitor the progress of your freight and report on the delivery status of your shipping containers? How will you know when your containers are en route, delivered, and unloaded?  Consider the data that is most important to your company and make sure your drayage company understands it and can provide it for you.

Special Services. If you have freight that requires special handling, look for a drayage company with experience in that type of transport.  C&K Trucking supports over-the-road moves on a case-by-case basis and we offer trucking services for both domestic and ocean freight as well as crosstown trucking. For our clients with heavier loads, we have tri-axle chassis and we can also accommodate refrigerated containers and Hazmat.

Safety. Safety and the safety of those transporting your goods should be a priority for the drayage company. Ask your desired drayage company how they are rated for safety and how they monitor safe driving. Some companies reward owner-operators for their safe driving records, which underscores the importance of safety throughout the company.

Responsiveness. When it comes to working in the volatile supply chain, it’s important to be able to contact the person you need when you need them most. It may help to choose a drayage company with multiple locations around the country. Your drayage partner should also be able to be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because drayage never sleeps!

The Right Drayage Company is a Key Decision

Selecting the best drayage company means finding one that is in tune with your company, and also has the capacity and confidence to fulfill your needs.  Inferior drayage services lack reliable supply chain partners or chassis, which can lead to big problems. If your freight ends up sitting at port, or in the railyard longer than allowed, it could cost your company dearly.

Drayage must be done right. And by partnering with the right drayage company, you can be assured that they will do everything they can to make your operations as efficient as possible.   

If you are looking for a drayage company to help you with your operations, C&K Trucking is a partner with the experience and capacity to lighten your loads. To learn more, call Peter Pace, VP of Sales at 201.960.3159 or email him at ppace@av-ck.com