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Drayage vs. Cartage: What’s the Difference?

Drayage vs Cartage graphic (container)

It’s easy to confuse drayage and cartage services. Both terms have to do with receiving and delivering containers from a port. However, there is a distinct difference between the two services, and understanding that difference can help identify which service is best for you.

What’s the Difference?

Drayage is when a container is transported from a port to a nearby facility before it is redirected to its final destination. Cartage is transporting a container from a port to a nearby facility and then separating the contents of the container onto different trucks for delivery. The amount of product being shipped, and the number of deliveries will determine which service is best for you.

When Drayage Should Be Used

Drayage may be a preferred method because the product in the container is handled less, which means handling time and costs are lower. The container is shipped as a full truckload and it’s simpler to ship the container as is, instead of separating the contents. However, if the contents of the containers are destined for different locations, cartage services make more sense.

When Cartage Should Be Used

Cartage is essentially the same as transloading. A container is picked up from the port, contents are separated and shipped less-than-truckload (LTL) to their final destination. Cartage gives shippers more control and doesn’t require a full container of product to be shipped. However, the increased handling requirements adds to the cost and has a higher risk of becoming damaged or lost. The more stops a product requires, the higher chance of error.

Whichever service is required, it is beneficial to work with a logistics provider that is within close proximity (250 miles) to the port. As ports struggle to reduce congestion from supply chain issues, it helps to have a reliable and convenient transportation solution. Evans Distribution Systems is only a few miles from the largest seaport in Michigan, making us an ideal provider of drayage and cartage services.

Contact us at sales@evansdist.com or call 1-800-OK-EVANS to speak to an expert today.