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The state of freight: How flat rates can cut your drayage and transloading costs

Truck shortages. Long port lines. Fewer workers. Rising fuel costs. Delayed deliveries. The state of freight and the global supply chain are exacerbated by one of the worst inflations in decades. All while commerce merchants are pumping the brakes to avoid added costs and modifying their entire transportation infrastructure ahead of peak season, especially with drayage and transloading.

With so many factors at play and surprises at every turn, is there truly a way to reduce costs associated with your drayage and transloading? Our team of freight experts weigh in.

Drayage and transloading: The basics

*A quick PSA: if you’re familiar with what drayage and transloading are, you can skip to the next section!

Modern freight operations require coordination between many entities to ensure goods are properly loaded, arrive intact, and are delivered quickly to their final destination. The two most complex and messy pieces of this synchronization puzzle? Drayage and transloading.

Drayage takes a shipment that has arrived at a port and transports it to its next destination, typically a warehouse near the port. Here’s a realistic scenario to understand how it works:


A company based in Miami, Florida designs luxury handbags and sells them to high-end retailers across the country. Research and development happens at its headquarters but production takes place in Spain. A month before LA Fashion Week, the company places an order for 1500 cartons of handbags to sell in-stores after its debut on the runway. Once manufactured, the product is placed into a container and loaded onto a ship.

Two weeks later, the container arrives at the Port of Los Angeles where it’s offloaded and placed on a truck for delivery to a 3PL’s cross-dock.

In the above example, the final step is an example of drayage.

Transloading, on the other hand, unloads freight from one mode of transportation and reloads it onto another. In the above example, the transloading step would happen at the cross-dock where the container was hauled to during the drayage process. The goods would be taken out of the shipping container that arrived at the cross-dock and reloaded into a trailer to head to their final destination.

The complicated nature of drayage and transloading freight rates

Drayage and transloading are often tied together by one commonality: the shipping container used. And this single shared commodity has the ability to create major headaches for your company in terms of coordination and cost.

Since containers are owned by the shipping line and used for multiple jobs, there are strict deadlines set to pick up the container (known as the last free day, aka “LFD”) and return it back to the port. Failure to return the container within the designated window can result in an array of fees:

  • Demurrage fee: A fee attached to cargo that’s overstayed its time at a terminal
  • Per diem charge: A fixed rate per day charged by a carrier for use of its containers
  • Storage fee: A fee charged by the port to discourage delays and reduce congestion at busy terminals



Penalties from holding a shipping container are only the beginning of potential added costs on your freight rates. “There are many variable costs that drayage providers pass on to customers in the current chaotic state of freight,” states Andrew Marione, a Deliverr Freight Product Manager. “These show up as hidden fees tacked on to an agreed-upon base rate.”

These unexpected line items can include fuel surcharges, a clean truck fee, floor loading fees, and more, as shown in the example below:

Example of a common Drayage and Transloading invoice with unexpected fees.
Example of a common Drayage and Transloading invoice with unexpected fees.

“With many freight forwarders, it’s uncertain what your final shipping cost will be until you see the invoice,” notes Marione. “This inconsistency in pricing makes it difficult to plan your business, price your products, and manage your books.”

Moral of the story? You can’t always trust what you’re quoted is what you’ll get with these large freight forwarders’ outdated pricing structures.

A modern, transparent approach to today’s freight rates

Say goodbye to the old ways of doing drayage and transloading and all the hidden fees that come with it. The first of its kind, Deliverr Freight offers smart, affordable, and hassle-free drayage and transloading services built on a flat rate pricing model. No hidden fees. No unexpected line items. What we quote is exactly what you pay. It’s that simple.

Our flat drayage rates cover:

  • The base rate for drayage
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Chassis fees
  • Port congestion fees

Our flat transload rates cover:

  • Floor unloads and re-loads
  • Palletized unloads and re-loads
  • Stretch wrapping costs
Example of a Deliverr Freight invoice with flat rate pricing.

In addition to flat rate pricing, our team can pay any incurred demurrage, storage, or per diem fees on your behalf if your container gets stuck at the port. You’ll see these as a separate line item on your invoice accompanied by a small processing fee (10%) so you can have a hassle-free experience of working with only one party—Deliverr.

Prepare for peak season with flat rate freight pricing

If you’re tired of dealing with surprise fees and big price swings with drayage and transloading services, make the switch to Deliverr Freight. Be ready for the holiday rush with cost accruals you can trust and confidently plan your business around.

Learn more about Deliverr Freight here, or contact our team of experts to see how you can save with flat rate drayage and transloading pricing.

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