A Guide to Choosing Your Southern California Drayage Partner

By
Golden State Logistics

Southern California is home to two of the busiest ports in the country, and it is nearly impossible to navigate these ports without leveraging a drayage partner. A partnership with the right drayage service provider can streamline the entire planning and fulfillment process, enhancing the flexibility and agility to manage challenging situations and get results even in crunch times.

Port operations in Southern California face their fair share of challenges because of the large volumes of containers being handled, which results in congestion. Aging and insufficient infrastructure at the facilities and the transportation system do not help either.

Drayage and Its Critical Role in Shipping

Though small in scale, drayage services are a critical aspect of the logistics operation that shippers cannot afford to overlook.

Drayage partners are vital links, connecting long-distance or major modes of transportation with the next phase of the supply chain journey. For example, they haul containers from a seaport to an intermodal yard.

Southern California drayage is crucial to linking trans-Pacific sea freight with inland transportation. It does this by leveraging chassis to carry the containers from vessels to a warehouse or facility where long-distance trucking services will pick them up and continue the logistics process.

7 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drayage Service Provider

Given the drayage partner’s crucial role, shippers can ill-afford to make an uninformed decision when selecting a service provider. Here are some factors to consider during the vetting process:

1. Location and Accessibility

Finding a local Southern California drayage partner with experience and deep-rooted knowledge of the region is crucial. That includes the provider’s ability to navigate local regulations and roadways and work with all parties throughout the supply chain for the efficient coordination of transportation and to ensure streamlined and seamless operations.

2. Experience and Reliability

Port operations in Los Angeles and Long Beach can be complex, and each port has its challenges. However, Southern California drayage partners with ample experience in the region’s ports should have no issue navigating and managing local challenges. On the other hand, a drayage provider unfamiliar with the nuances of working in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports could be hindered by that lack of experience and cause delays and increased demurrage and detention fees. Finding an experienced drayage partner with a proven track record of delivering reliable service at the Southern California ports is integral to helping ensure your goods move to the next stage of the journey efficiently. Seek out customer testimonials and case studies that support the provider’s claims.

3. Equipment and Capacity

Drayage partners are your ticket to securing capacity and access to assets and infrastructure. Ideally, your drayage partner should have access to a network of yards and warehouses that will temporarily house the container or cargo before the next leg of the logistics process begins. They should also have unfettered access to chassis fleets, which would enable them to scale operations to meet your unique needs — including during peak seasons of customer demand.

4. Technology Integration

Technology plays a critical role in driving successful drayage services. Through technology solutions like TMS, GPS, the Internet of Things, and demand forecasting systems, drayage partners can plan and optimize the flow of drayage solutions to meet your business needs. Integrating these technologies provides unparalleled visibility and transparency, allowing for the efficient dispatching of trucks when your container is available and cleared by the customs authorities. It also provides a clear way to communicate status updates and potential risks with all supply chain stakeholders.

5. Regulatory Compliance and Sustainability

As of January 1, 2024, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began to enforce its initiative to phase out diesel trucks at ports. The Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation (ACF) aims to make all drayage trucks zero-emission by 2035. State officials say the new requirements will result in a 90% reduction in truck emissions at the Port of Los Angeles. You want a partner who focuses on meeting CARB’s regulations and who also invests in their fleet (electric and hydrogen trucks) to meet the requirements of today and in the future.

6. Customer Service and Support

You want a drayage partner with effective customer support service that provides the responsiveness and problem-solving skills needed to help ensure your operations at the port and beyond run smoothly.

7. Delivering Value

One misstep in customs clearing or port operations could cost a supply chain thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. The ideal drayage partner will streamline processes to help avoid detention and demurrage as much as possible. It is also important to discuss the cost and speed of the operation. Economies of scale can help reduce the cost of operation significantly.

Choosing The Right Southern California Drayage Partner

Choosing the right drayage partner comes with all sorts of benefits for your supply chain, including speed, scalability, sustainability, and seamless transport. That is why making the right decision is key to your supply chain.

Golden State Logistics offers specialized port drayage solutions. We navigate port complexities to enhance the efficiency of your logistics process. At GSL, you have a team of experts on your side to help:

  • Ensure consistent, reliable port operations performance.
  • Find opportunities for transportation cost savings.
  • Deliver reports and insights for continuous improvements, including sustainability.
  • Enhance tracking and connectivity for real-time updates.
  • Schedule efficiently to best utilize equipment and power by matching inbound with outbound movements.

Want a leading drayage service partner across Southern California? Get in touch with us today.

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