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To Dray or Not to Dray. That is the Question.

May 13, 2016
5 min read
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a cargo ship in a port

Unless you’re actually in the transportation and logistics industry, you’ve probably never heard of drayage, nor do you have a clue what it is. Don’t feel bad. Most people don’t. Drayage is an old word that would have been popular and well-known in the 18th and 19th centuries when carts were still pulled by horses. Dray carts would move freight from warehouses and businesses to shipyards. From there, cargo would be loaded on to the ships from the carts.

While the times have changed, the name and basic principal remain the same. In today’s world, drayage simply means moving cargo or freight a short distance. It’s like a cab ride for your freight.

Why dray? Why not just have shipments delivered from point A to the shipyard where the cargo can simply be loaded on to one of those giant cargo containers and shipped across the still high seas? The answer is that it’s never as simple as that. While moving a truck from the point of origination to the shipyard is certainly possible, it’s not always practical. Additionally, drayage isn’t limited to the shipyards. It might mean moving freight from a truck to a train or a train to a warehouse.

So how does drayage work? Drayage works by moving freight from a warehouse or point of origin to a site where it will either be delivered to another mode of transport, or dropped at a drayage point for distribution. Here are a few examples:

    Trade Shows –
    Exhibitors ship displays and trade show materials to the expo center rather than checking or carrying it with them as they travel. The cargo will move by truck from their site and then be transferred to a cargo plane. Then, from the plane, another truck will move the trade show materials to the expo center where it will be dropped off at a “Drayage Point.” Once unloaded, expo center personnel will be able to deliver the display materials to the company exhibiting on the trade show floor.
    County Fairs –
    Fairs use the same principal as above. Whether it’s an entertainer at the fair or an exhibitor, freight will need to be moved from an intermediate point like an airport or a warehouse to the fairgrounds where it, too will be dropped at a drayage point.
    Shopping Malls –
    Cargo is dropped at a drayage point for the mall and mall personnel deliver to the stores needing their shipments rather than the delivery person trudging through the mall to deliver directly to the end user.
    Concerts, Festivals, and Sporting Events –
    While many performers and sports teams bring their own gear and equipment, there are plenty of vendors throughout the sportsplex or concert hall who need to get their wares. Trucks drop at the drayage point and concert expo personnel deliver.
    Overseas and Rail Shipments –
    Trucks take freight from the warehouse to the rail yard or seaport where the cargo is transported on to shipping containers or train cars. Once safely across the water or the rails, the cargo is moved by truck from the seaside or rail location to another receiving warehouse or directly to the end user. This short distance move is also a drayage move on the receiving side.

If your company has answered the age old question, “To dray or not to dray?” in the affirmative and would like more information on Amware’s drayage services, please CONTACT US today!

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