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Drayage is the retrieval of shipping containers from ports and hauling them to inland locations such as rail heads, distribution centers, or stores. It is one of the most important, yet fraught, parts of the supply chain.

Many ports in the US struggle to position chassis efficiently, and chassis shortages are a key contributor to port congestion. The issue of chassis maintenance and repair is also a sticking point in employer negotiations with longshore labor unions.


If there ever was a year in the globalization era for US shippers and forwarders/supply chain managers to schedule their surface transport well in advance, it is this year. In 2018, shippers should not expect surge freight capacity. 

News & Analysis

Chassis stacked.
13 Jul 2018
Supporters, including some smaller companies, believe the pool will encourage chassis providers to contribute new chassis with the safest features and increase fleet size. Opponents counter the existing pool works fine, and there are legal and operational questions that must be answered before rendering a decision.
Chassis at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
13 Jul 2018
A gray chassis pool is not off the agenda, stakeholders say, but as of mid-2018 it appears to be a solution in search of a problem, for several reasons.
The Port of Los Angeles.
12 Jul 2018
It took the new management team at APL’s Pier 300 in Los Angeles only three months to improve truck turn times from the worst in the harbor to the fourth best among the 12 terminals. And they accomplished it by deploying a "customer focus/consumer focus" strategy.
Trucker Tools smartphone app.
12 Jul 2018
The question shippers are asking is, “If you see the freight, can’t you let me know where there’s carrier capacity available?”
BNSF US Montana
12 Jul 2018
In the past, resourceful supply chain managers always had alternatives in their hip pocket to meet the unexpected, for a price. Not this year. In 2018, shippers should not expect surge freight capacity.
A BNSF intermodal freight train in Illinois, United States.
10 Jul 2018
US beneficial cargo owners will face unprecedented challenges using intermodal this peak season. Still, there are time-tested tactics that will ensure the best possible transportation result.
Chassis at the Port of Long Beach.
09 Jul 2018
Efficient supply chains contain the premise that for every container there is a chassis available. But don't tell shippers that, as the issue has been a thorn in their side and that of other container trade stakeholders for nearly a decade.
Chassis photo by Hugh R. Morley.
03 Jul 2018
Although intermodal traffic has increased 26 percent in five years, chassis repair companies can’t hire people fast enough to keep pace, due to the US labor shortage, job hopping in the sector, and candidates simply seeking easier work. Shippers will ultimately see the problem in the form of chassis shortages.
Port Miami.
03 Jul 2018
The logistics provider has found a niche in Miami-area digital drayage by offering an app with a twist: the shipper, not an algorithm, names the price to haul the load.
Two trucks at the Port of Los Angeles.
26 Jun 2018
Beneficial cargo owners and truckers in Southern California have experienced only spot chassis shortages, and given current import projections, this condition should continue through the peak season. However, store-door contracts that designate the use of specific intermodal equipment provider chassis are still an issue, and this condition could worsen if non-vessel operating common carriers expand their use of door contracts with chassis clauses.
Chittagong Port.
25 Jun 2018
Every year, during the April to October period, Chittagong Port experiences severe congestion, which causes a vessel backup at the outer anchorage lasting from several days to more than a week.
Chassis at the South Carolina Ports Authority.
22 Jun 2018
The two port authorities believe the pool will solve two chassis problems — eliminate the chassis shortage and provide the highest-quality chassis. But they also warn beneficial cargo owners that this won’t be an overnight fix.
The Port of Rotterdam.
22 Jun 2018
Despite a container consolidation partnership among marine terminals, inland shipping companies, and inland centers, barge operators say there's been little improvement in reducing barge delays during peak times — something one intermodal services provider argued was due to not having enough handling capacity during peak times.
A chassis stored in the United States.
21 Jun 2018
Chassis restrictions have long been a concern of beneficial cargo owners and truckers ever since the ocean carriers exited the business.
The Port of Montreal.
12 Jun 2018
At a June 6 meeting in which 30 port stakeholders reviewed the impact of increasing the hours from beyond the old time of 6 a.m. to 2.30 p.m., to close instead at 7 p.m., the terminals agreed to extend the project, which began May 14 and was due to end on June 22, at least through the summer.
Milestone Chassi Supply
12 Jun 2018
Shippers may find that the cost of operating a new chassis could be lower than that of an ostensibly cheaper refurbished or aging chassis over the long run, once fuel consumption and maintenance are taken into account.
Chittagong port with containers.
08 Jun 2018
Inland container depots (ICDs) are responsible for stuffing and unstuffing export and import containers on their premises. If Bangladesh does not add more ICDs, cargo delays and missed shipments are likely to increase at/near Chittagong Port.
JNPT truck backup.
08 Jun 2018
DP World said the longer truck turn times are infrastructure upgrade-based, but truckers argue they are a reoccurring problem.
RoadOne IntermodaLogistics.
07 Jun 2018
The transaction completed through RoadOne’s holding company — Bright Light Partners — will increase the company’s overall size to 1,600 drivers in 60 locations throughout the United States.
Chassis stacked.
06 Jun 2018
Non-vessel operating common carriers are signing exclusive deals with chassis providers, counting on these deals to offer shippers more reliable service at a lower cost. Truckers are worried that these restrictive contracts will increase chassis splits and shortages, which they consider a colossal waste of time.
Port of Vancouver, Canada.
05 Jun 2018
Global Container Terminals Canada said its Vancouver pilot project that will test a flat-fee model during the day and night shifts is designed primarily to reduce gate congestion by reducing truck bunching during shift changes and encouraging more dual transactions.
BSF Logistics Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States.
30 May 2018
Chassis splits — when a trucker is diverted to a second location for a chassis — are not new, but shippers and trucking companies are concerned about how these chassis shortages and splits throw off delivery windows, hours of service, and costs.
An inland rail yard in the United States.
15 May 2018
US beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) unable to arrange inland transportation are considering a new option — signing long-term contracts for dedicated drayage.
09 May 2018
Truckers are unhappy with the administration of a key port productivity program at the Port of Jawaharlal Nehru and are refusing to work.
An NACPC chassis.
01 May 2018
The system's “interoperability,” which proponents argue will improve equipment utilization and allow a trucker to use any chassis between any start and stop location in the port area, is designed to aid terminal fluidity — a pivotal performance metric, as mega-ship calls pressure the gateway.
Port of Los Angeles.
01 May 2018
US shippers’ challenge in securing drayage capacity has eased since the peak eight weeks ago, but tightness persists in selected regions, and there are signs of more near-term difficulties.
Chassis at the Port of Long Beach.
27 Apr 2018
Chassis support facilities are part of a larger trend, certainly on the US West Coast, to repurpose properties that may not be suitable for marine terminals for ancillary functions. Moreover, the ultimate goal, if achieved, would represent a business model advance for the sector.
Trucks at a US port.
24 Apr 2018
The federal agency declined to elaborate on the identity of the beneficial cargo owners that issued these complaints or which ocean carriers received letters sent out on April 20.
Port of Los Angeles.
02 Apr 2018
Beneficial cargo owners and truckers in Los Angeles may experience improved cargo velocity and reduced gate congestion if a large container drayoff facility to be piloted at the Port of Los Angeles proves to be successful.
Air cargo loading.
28 Mar 2018
Capacity problems abound on land and in the air, and experts say many of the solutions are the same, including earlier planning and sharing of forecasts by shippers.
The Port of Long Beach.
26 Mar 2018
PierPass has its supporters and detractors, but port users agree that the largest US gateway could not handle 17 million TEU per year without a regular schedule of night and weekend gates.
The Port of Long Beach.
21 Mar 2018
The latest LA-LB metrics show that extended gates, appointments, and improved cargo-delivery processes are working despite record volumes.
The Port of Seattle.
05 Mar 2018
The US trucking community has officially launched a digital platform that, if successful, would quicken the supply chain by creating a network of draymen capable of moving containers in a more efficient manner.
Direct ChassisLink.
26 Feb 2018
Acknowledging chassis dislocation in Chicago this winter due to train delays, the company plans to move up to 1,600 chassis from the south Atlantic and Northeast to compensate.
The Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) in New Jersey.
23 Feb 2018
The rapid progress of a $500 million upgrade at the Port of New York and New Jersey's Port Newark Container Terminal could attract shippers that are closely focused on speed and efficiency in getting containers in or out of a terminal, especially regarding boxes moving by rail.