The Top 5 Challenges for Trucking Companies Providing Container Drayage

The Top 5 Challenges for Trucking Companies Providing Container Drayage


Container drayage refers to the transportation of shipping containers by truck between ports, rail yards, and distribution centers. It requires specialized equipment, such as container chassis and heavy-duty trucks, as well as trained drivers who are familiar with the local traffic patterns and regulations.

Container drayage plays a critical role in the transportation of goods, but it also poses significant challenges for trucking companies. In this blog post, we will explore the top 5 challenges trucking companies face when providing container drayage services.

1. Dead Runs One of the most significant challenges that trucking companies face when providing container drayage services is dead runs. A dead run is when a trucker has to travel a long distance to pick up or drop off a container but does not have any cargo to transport on the return journey. Dead runs not only waste time and fuel but also reduce profitability for trucking companies.

Truckers may experience long waiting times at ports or depots when picking up or dropping off containers. They may also encounter situations where they are told to wait for hours, only to be informed that there is no container to pick up or no space to drop off the container. These situations can significantly impact the trucker’s productivity, leading to longer turnaround times and reduced profitability for the trucking company.

2. Waiting for Carriers to Release Empty Containers Another significant challenge that trucking companies face is waiting for carriers to release empty containers. Trucking companies have to make a request for an empty container release via email, phone, or fax to the shipping line. The staff at the shipping line then checks their system and responds back to the trucking company with information on where to pick up the empty container.

This manual process can take an average of 2.5 hours for truckers to receive an empty container release, resulting in delays and inefficiencies in the overall transportation process.

3. Limited Ability to Choose Pickup Locations Trucking companies often have limited ability to choose pickup locations for containers. When the shipping line provides an empty container release, they inform the trucking company which depot to pick up the container from. The trucking company rarely has a choice in this matter and may have to travel long distances to reach the designated depot.

There are usually multiple container depots across the city, with varying distances from each other. The lack of choice in selecting the optimal pickup location depending on the trucker’s schedule for the day can result in delays and increased transportation costs for trucking companies.

4. Multiple Systems for Bookings and Empty Containers Another significant challenge that trucking companies face is the use of multiple systems to manage bookings and empty containers. With multiple shipping lines, trucking companies have to log in to various systems to input and access information, leading to disorganization and confusion.

This challenge can result in data discrepancies and manual errors, leading to additional time spent reconciling and updating records across multiple systems.

5. Limited Time for Drop-offs Trucking companies face a small window of time between early return dates and cut-offs, making it challenging to drop off containers in a timely manner. A missed cut-off can result in additional charges, negatively impacting the profitability of the trucking company.

Trakking Helps Solve these 5 Challenges

The process of sourcing and managing empty shipping line containers has long been a significant inefficiency for all industries that rely on importing and exporting goods. That’s why Trakking was launched in 2020 – a revolutionary digital platform that solves this problem by streamlining the process of requesting, managing, and returning empty containers.

Trakking semi-automates the process of requesting empty containers, with 95% of requests being automatically approved within 15 seconds. Trucking companies using Trakking can see real-time data on empty container inventories at various off-docks and ports, enabling them to choose the best location for pick-up and return, thus reducing unnecessary trips and optimizing operations.

The real-time data on Trakking drastically reduces dead runs for truckers – in fact, in the 10,000 transactions processed so far, there have only been 2 dead runs. Trakking’s single platform also makes it easy and efficient for trucking companies to manage all empty container returns and releases, as well as street turns.

Trakking is a game-changer for supply chain efficiency, offering a centralized and automated solution that saves time, money, and resources for all parties involved in global trade. With Trakking, the frustration of inefficient container management is a thing of the past.

Watch the podcast episode where we discuss maximizing container efficiency with Trakking. Click here!

About the Author

Let's Talk Supply Chain The Top 5 Challenges for Trucking Companies Providing Container Drayage 1

Patrick Lo is the President and Founder of Trakking. After obtaining an Honours Science degree from UBC and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, he started working in the logistics industry in the early 1990s. In 2018 Patrick founded Trakking, a software company that provides a smarter way to do empty container logistics in Canada. In 2021, Trakking was one of the first software companies to be awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Canadian federal government to further develop its platform to increase efficiencies in Canada’s supply chain. Since launching its platform last year, hundreds of trucking companies are using Trakking to access valuable empty container data, receive automated approvals of street turns and empty container releases, and make better decisions.

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