How Is Drayage Cost Calculated?

In the world of intermodal freight, drayage refers to the short-distance transport of shipping containers using drayage trucks. The containers may be brought to another location in a port, to another intermodal facility, or to their final destination.

Just like any other service, drayage will incur a cost for your business. Let’s take a closer look at the costs associated with drayage. Then, we’ll look at tips for making your drayage costs more manageable.

What is Drayage, and What Costs Are Associated With it?

What is Drayage?

Drayage is a specialized form of trucking that’s crucial to the intermodal supply chain. Drayage services use trucks to move shipping containers (also called intermodal containers) to their next destination. That could be a just-loaded container making its way to a port or railyard. It might also mean a container being delivered for unloading, and many steps in between.

The intermodal supply chain itself is a crucial part of the global freight economy. The Intermodal Association of North America estimates 95% of all manufactured goods are transported inside a container before reaching end consumers.

Container ships, trains, and planes carry shipping containers for the majority of their journey. However, those vehicles are ill-equipped to pick up and drop off containers outside of intermodal facilities.

This is what makes intermodal drayage so important. Every container needs to be dropped off at and eventually picked up from an intermodal facility. Completing that first or last mile of delivery is simply crucial for the efficiency and effectiveness of the intermodal supply chain.

What Costs are Involved in Drayage?

While not an exhaustive list, some of the main costs involved in port and intermodal facility drayage include:

  • Equipment. Truck cabs, specialized chassis, genset equipment for perishable goods, and support and cleaning equipment are some examples.
  • Drivers. Truck drivers need to be compensated for their time. Driver-related costs can also include training, licensing, and certifications.
  • Consumable resources and maintenance. Fuel is an obvious cost, as it’s required for every drayage trip. Additionally, equipment needs to be maintained. That includes regular inspections, swapping out worn tires, replacing a variety of other parts, and much more.
  • Technology. Tools used to communicate with customers and drivers, track shipments, and manage resources all carry a cost.

How is a Customer’s Drayage Cost Calculated?

The costs we just reviewed can all come into play on the customer side in terms of pricing. Wondering how the cost of drayage is determined for clients? At Iraheta Bros., these factors all come into play:

  • Distance and total mileage. This factor represents much of the time spent on the job by drivers. It also covers fuel costs and expected wear and tear on equipment. For those reasons, it’s a key element in pricing.
  • Weight and size of the shipment. Weight has a major impact on fuel economy. High weights increase costs.
  • Time needed to get to destination. If the destination is far from the intermodal facility, it takes up more of the driver’s time. That prevents them from moving onto another job.
  • Terrain. A route that covers an area with many changes in elevation can significantly increase fuel costs for large, heavy vehicles.
  • Typical traffic conditions of the destination. Heavy traffic can lead to delays, which keep drivers from other jobs. Traffic congestion can also burn more fuel, as engines stay on but vehicles move slowly.

All of these factors make it difficult to share a general average drayage cost per mile. However, we can provide a free, personalized quote that’s specific to your needs.

How Can my Business Keep Drayage Costs Low?

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid higher costs. Working with your drayage carrier can help you find affordable options and avoid costs like peak surcharges and driver detention.

Pre-clearing customs whenever possible also helps to avoid driver delays and additional costs. Communicating proactively with your intermodal shipper can offer a similar benefit. It helps you become aware of potential delays ahead of time. You can then discuss those issues with your drayage carrier before a driver starts the job.

Container Xchange recommends combining shipments to reduce the potential for minimum weight charges. Take advantage of the full storage capacity of each container. That way, you won’t need to pay a minimum weight fee to transport a partially empty one.

A container truck parks at a loading dock.

How Can I Find a Reliable Drayage Partner?

Iraheta Bros. offers reliable drayage service to and from the Port of Oakland. 

Our experienced, qualified, and certified truck drivers understand how to navigate the Port. They’re skilled in selecting and using the right equipment to safely deliver your freight in a timely manner. Our office staff use an innovative transportation management system, along with transparent and efficient billing, to provide the best possible service.

Simplify your transportation needs today!

How Is Drayage Cost Calculated?

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