Freight vs. Drayage: Everything You Need to Know

Freight commonly refers to long-distance transportation of goods, while drayage is mostly used for short distances.

Different types of trucks are used for freight transportation depending on the size and weight of the cargo, while specialized equipment like flatbeds or chassis are needed for drayage to transport shipping containers.

What is freight?

Freight refers to goods or cargo that are transported by land, air, or sea. This can include anything from raw materials to finished products.

Freight can be moved in a variety of ways, including by truck, train, ship, or plane. Freight can be transported locally or globally and can be shipped directly to customers or to distribution centers for further handling.

Types of freight

The types of freight can vary greatly, depending on the nature of the product being shipped. Here are some common types of freight with examples:

Dry Freight

This refers to goods that do not require any special temperature control or protection during transit. Examples of dry freight include clothing, books, furniture, and electronics.

Refrigerated Freight

Also known as “reefer” freight, this type of shipment requires temperature-controlled transportation to keep the products fresh and prevent spoilage. Common examples of refrigerated freight include food items, pharmaceuticals, and certain chemicals.

Hazardous Materials Freight

This refers to products that are considered hazardous or dangerous, such as explosives, flammable liquids, and radioactive materials. Transporting hazardous materials requires special handling and regulatory compliance.

Oversized Freight

This refers to goods that are too large or heavy to fit on a standard truck or trailer. Examples include heavy machinery, large equipment, and prefabricated buildings.

LTL Freight

Less than truckload (LTL) freight refers to shipments that do not require a full truckload and are typically smaller than 15,000 pounds. This is a cost-effective option for smaller businesses or individuals shipping small quantities of goods.

Also Read: Understand Drayage: What & Why It’s Costly

4 modes of freight transportation

Road Transportaion

Road transportation involves transporting cargo using trucks. This mode is suitable for moving small to medium-sized cargo over short to medium distances. It is also ideal for time-sensitive cargo that requires expedited delivery.

Rail Transportation

Rail transportation involves moving cargo using trains. This mode is suitable for large and heavy cargo over long distances. It is also ideal for cargo that is not time-sensitive, such as raw materials and commodities.

Air Transportation

Air transportation involves moving cargo using airplanes. This mode is suitable for time-sensitive cargo, high-value goods, and perishable items such as food and medical supplies. It is also ideal for international cargo that requires fast and efficient delivery.

Water Transportation

Water transportation involves moving cargo using ships, boats, or barges. This mode is suitable for moving large and heavy cargo over long distances. It is also ideal for cargo that is not time-sensitive, such as raw materials and commodities.

What type of freight is most profitable?

High-Value Goods

Goods that have a high value-to-weight ratio, such as jewelry, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, are typically more profitable than low-value goods. This is because the cost of transporting these goods is relatively low compared to their market value.

Temperature-Sensitive Products

Perishable goods that require temperature-controlled transport, such as food and medical supplies, are generally more profitable. This is because the transportation of these goods requires specialized equipment and expertise, which increases the cost.

Oversized Cargo

Cargo that is oversized or over-dimensional, such as heavy machinery, is usually more profitable. This is because the transport of such cargo requires specialized equipment and skilled labor, which drives up the cost.

Hazardous Materials

Transporting hazardous materials is a specialized field that requires strict compliance with regulations and specialized equipment. This makes it more profitable compared to other types of freight.

What is the easiest type of freight to get?

Some examples of in-demand freight types that are often easy to obtain include general consumer goods, electronics, clothing, and food items. These types of freight are consistently in demand and are often shipped in large quantities, making it easier for carriers to make efficient trips and for brokers to match shipments with carriers quickly.

Additionally, many carriers prefer shorter hauls, so local or regional shipments may be easier to secure than longer hauls that require more time on the road.

What state has the highest paying freight?

Some states that consistently offer higher-paying freight include California, Texas, and Florida. These states have bustling ports and large metropolitan areas, making them hubs for shipping and logistics.

In addition, the agricultural and oil industries in these states also drive-up demand for transportation services, resulting in higher rates for drivers.

What is an example of a drayage?

Drayage services involve the transportation of containers over a short distance, typically from a port or rail yard to a warehouse or distribution center.

One common example of drayage is the movement of shipping containers from a port to a nearby storage facility or transportation hub.

Why is it called drayage?

The term “drayage” comes from the word “dray”, which is a type of low, flat-bed wagon that was used to transport goods and materials. In the early days of transportation, drayage was a common service that involved hauling freight using these drays.

Today, the term “drayage” is commonly used in the transportation industry to refer to the movement of containers over short distances, usually within a specific region or port.

How much is drayage per mile?

On average, drayage services tend to cost between $3 and $10 per mile. However, this is just a general estimate, and the actual cost of your drayage services may be higher or lower depending on your specific needs and circumstances.

Key features of drayage

Container handling

Drayage companies are equipped to handle containers of all sizes, including 20-foot and 40-foot containers. They have specialized equipment such as container chassis and lift trucks to load and unload containers from ships and trains.

Port regulations

Ports have specific regulations and procedures that must be followed when transporting goods in and out of the facility. Drayage companies are well-versed in these regulations and can help ensure compliance.

Customs procedures

Importing and exporting goods involves a variety of customs procedures and paperwork. Drayage companies can help manage these processes to ensure that shipments clear customs as quickly as possible.

Flexible scheduling

Drayage companies are often available on short notice and can accommodate a variety of scheduling needs, including same-day pickup and delivery.

Differences Between Freight and Drayage

1. Ownership

Freight is typically owned by the shipper or carrier, while drayage service is often provided by a third-party logistics or truck company.

2. Scope

Freight refers to the transportation of goods over long distances, while drayage typically involves shorter trips between ports, terminals, or warehouses.

3. Equipment

Freight can be transported by a variety of vehicles, including trucks, trains, ships, and planes, while drayage typically relies on trailer trucks.

4. Regulations

Freight is subject to various regulations at the federal and state levels, while drayage is often subject to additional regulations related to ports and terminals.

5. Pricing

Freight pricing is often based on distance, weight, and volume, while drayage pricing often includes many additional fees such as terminal charges, port fees, chassis fee, demurrage, etc.

6. Timeframe

Freight transportation often involves long lead times and more complex logistics, while drayage services are typically more flexible and can be arranged on shorter notice.

7. Destination

Freight can be transported to a variety of destinations, while drayage services usually focus on short distances, and local areas, since empty containers still need to return to the same pick-up point.