Drayage Trucking: Definition & Benefits

If you were to poll a random group of people about the definition of drayage, how many of them would be able to give you an answer? Even though drayage trucking is one of the most important steps in supply chain logistics, it is not a commonly understood concept. In fact, even Google Docs does not recognize the term, at least not at the time this article is being written. 

The average consumer doesn’t necessarily need to know the definition of drayage, but everyone who deals directly with the logistics industry certainly does. If you are looking for the most efficient and cost-effective way to transport your cargo, make sure your drayage trucking is on your radar. 

Let’s clear up the mystery around drayage trucking by reviewing the definition of drayage truck, benefits of drayage trucking, how drayage trucking works, and whether or not your business needs drayage trucking. 

Drayage Truck Definition

Drayage is the transportation of freight via truck from an ocean port or rail terminal to its destination. Drayage trucking moves freight the short distances, also known as the first mile and last mile.  The term drayage is used to describe short haul trucking specifically for the container shipping industry. The loads moved by drayage usually have departure and arrival locations within the same area and do not involve long or national routes. 

Even though drayage may seem like a small part in the transportation process, it plays a critical role in the logistics industry. It is also vital to overall supply chain management. Drayage trucking is not just relevant to businesses who need to ship freight, it is also impactful for the everyday consumer. The beloved one or two-day shipping that everyone relies upon is largely possible through drayage trucking. 

Benefits of Drayage Trucking

Drayage provides an essential part of the supply chain for all types of businesses. Drayage connects companies and customers with almost door-to-door service. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits drayage trucking provides to businesses. 


Drayage can reduce the cost of freight transportation. The alternatives to drayage can be costly because air freight and container rentals quickly add up. Short distance truck transportation is cost-efficient and can save both money and time. 


Drayage services typically come along with comprehensive logistics services that include detailed tracking and monitoring. With drayage trucking, you can ensure that the routes, updates, and communications are more accurate so that your business can run more smoothly. 


Drayage services are managed by experienced logistics professionals who know how to operate within specific guidelines, adhere to continual changes in federal safety rules and regulations, and keep your goods safe and secure. Additionally, when cargo is transported via drayage, it is packed in a shipping container and the shipping container is not opened during the shipping process. With drayage, goods are not directly handled and the shipping containers are under increased scrutiny throughout the journey. 


Drayage improves the efficiency of transportation by carrying both full and empty containers and minimizing time spent in storage. With this approach, business isn’t delayed and the use of space at ports and terminals is optimized. Additionally, cross-docking is an important part of the drayage process. With cross-docking, shipping containers are immediately unloaded from one method of transportation and reloaded onto another so they can promptly continue on with their journey.  

How does drayage trucking work?

Drayage bridges the gaps between warehouses, ports, harbors, and rail terminals. It is not designed for long-distance transportation, but it is a key part of larger transportation processes that cover long distances. In drayage trucking, a driver picks up a shipping container and drives it a short distance to its destination. In fact, drayage is the shortest portion of the supply chain process. It can typically be completed by one truck driver in a single shift, and drayage hauls rarely last longer than a day. 

Does your business need drayage trucking?

You may be wondering, “Does my business need drayage trucking?” If your business ships goods in containers over long distances, you likely need drayage trucking to get your shipment to and from the port or terminal. And you are not alone – approximately 95% of all manufactured goods in the world need to travel by drayage at some point during the supply chain process. 

Managing all of the strategy and logistics is a monumental task. Thankfully there is a global logistics company that can skillfully manage all of your transportation needs. 

First Star Logistics is an asset-based logistics provider with over 60 years of experience. As an industry leader and innovator, First Star Logistics is an expert at ensuring cargo arrives on time and in perfect condition. To learn more about drayage, and trust your logistics to an experienced provider, contact First Star Logistics today.