Transporting goods from one location to another is a complicated process that can involve a number of different companies. Drayage companies perform much of the unseen transportation work, moving containers short distances to facilitate shipment.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how drayage companies work, including the qualities you should look for when choosing a drayage company. We’ll also explore five of the best drayage companies in operation today, taking into account factors like location, cost, and the unique advantages that each one offers.
Quicklook: Best Drayage Companies
5 Best Drayage Companies
We looked at a number of top drayage companies, and these five stood out above the rest.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services
Founded in 1961 by Johnnie Bryan and Johnelle Hunt, J.B. Hunt Transport Services has become one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. The company currently has more than 12,000 trucks, as well as more than 100,000 containers and trailers.
Location: Headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas, J.B. Hunt operates throughout all of North America.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1-877-256-2882
Services: Drayage, intermodal, truckload, brokerage, and dedicated trucking
Revenue: $7.2 billion
- By far the largest drayage shipper in the U.S. by volume
- 100% company-owned container stock
- 90% of drays are controlled by the company
- High volume and efficiency mean savings for shippers
Hub Group was started in Illinois by Phillip Yeager in 1971 as Hub City Terminals. After becoming Hub Group in 1985, the company has continued to grow. It has acquired a number of other trucking companies, as well. Hub Group emphasizes technology, offering information 24/7 about your shipment, so you’ll always be in the loop.
Location: Headquartered in Oak Brook, IL, Hub Group services all 50 states, as well as Canada and Mexico.
- Contact Page: https://www.hubgroup.com/about-us/contact-us/
- Phone: 1-630-271-3600
Services: Drayage, intermodal, and brokerage trucking, as well as supply chain services
Revenue: $4.0 billion
- Flexible network of trucks
- Close relationships with boat and railroad shipping companies
- 24/7 tracking of shipments
- Provides nationwide service, including door-to-door delivery
Started all the way back in 1935, Schneider has a long track record of providing shipping solutions. With more than 85 years of experience in truck transportation, you can rest assured that Schneider will get your goods where they need to go.
Location: Based in Green Bay, WI, Schneider operates throughout the U.S., as well as in Mexico, Canada, and China
- Contact form at https://schneider.com/contact-us/shipper
- Phone: 1-800-558-6767
Services: Drayage, expedited, truckload, specialized, and intermodal trucking
Revenue: $4.4 billion
- Emphasizes transparency and control of your shipment
- Connects you with logistics experts
- Works with third parties for added capacity when needed
- Synchronizes international supply chain issues
Originally Express-1 Expedited Solutions, XPO Logistics was purchased and renamed by Brad Jacobs. Since then, XPO has become one of the largest companies by revenue in the United States.
Location: Headquartered in Greenwich, CT, XPO has locations throughout the world, along with more than 311 distribution facilities in the U.S.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1-800-837-7584
Services: Drayage, expedited, intermodal, residential, dedicated, LTL, brokerage, and forwarded trucking
Revenue: $15.4 billion
- Large capacity, with 11,000 owned containers and access to 95,000 more
- Focus on providing accurate quotes
- Among the industry’s safest drayage companies
- Site security means you don’t have to worry about theft
- GPS and satellite tracking available
Swift was originally formed in 1966 by Carl Moyes in Phoenix, AZ. After acquiring Knight Transportation in 2017, Swift has become one of the largest trucking companies in the United States, offering more than 16,200 trucks.
Location: Based in Phoenix, AZ, Swift serves the U.S., as well as Canada.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1-602-269-9700
Services: Drayage, dedicated, truckload, intermodal, and brokerage trucking
Revenue: $5.1 billion
- All containers are equipped with satellite tracking
- One of the newest fleets in the industry
- Biggest lightweight drayage fleet in the United States
- Focus on service, from door-to-door delivery to transport across borders
What Is a Drayage Company?
A drayage company is responsible for transporting goods over short distances, usually to fill the gaps between longer shipments.
Typically, once a container arrives at a train yard or a shipping port, the most efficient way to move goods from one place to another is with a truck. A container is loaded onto a flat truck and transported to the next leg of its journey.
Drayage companies are responsible for handling the logistics of these kinds of operations, assuring the goods arrive safely at their next destination.
How Does a Drayage Company Work?
Drayage companies are contracted by carriers to efficiently transport goods. This happens in a number of ways. A drayage company may move containers from a port to a train yard, for instance, or carry goods to their final destination.
Drayage companies may even help ease congestion in crowded ports, moving containers to temporary holding areas before the leg of their journey.
What to Consider with Drayage Companies
There are several factors to consider when you’re choosing a drayage company, including:
The best drayage companies are able to move shipments quickly, with as little downtime as possible. Make sure to look at the average shipping time for each drayage company you might work with.
Getting the right container to the right location is vital. Make sure to choose a drayage company that has an excellent track record.
Shipping costs can greatly impact your bottom line. While you may not want the cheapest company, you should find a drayage company that can offer you savings on shipments.
You need to know where your shipment is at all times. Choose a drayage company that’s committed to integrating the latest logistics tools into their services.
Proper Handling of Cargo
No matter what you’re shipping, you need to be able to count on the fact that your goods will be delivered without damage. Ask for references and check for reviews to find out how the company is likely to handle your goods.
Partner With the Right Drayage Company
Now that you’ve seen some of the top drayage companies, make sure that you stay on top of the latest developments in the trucking industry. Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletter to be well-informed about the latest technological and economic events that affect transportation and the supply chain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Drayage shipments are short-distance shipments, usually within town, that fill in the gaps between longer shipments.
Drayage costs can vary based on distance and season, but you should expect to spend between $80-$100 for every 100 pounds being shipped.
In cartage, loads are broken down and shipped separately. Drayage, on the other hand, means that an entire container is being transported.