Averitt Express says cross-docking services can be used near seaports to allow drivers to quickly pick up and return the container.  -  Photo: Averitt Express

Averitt Express says cross-docking services can be used near seaports to allow drivers to quickly pick up and return the container.

Photo: Averitt Express

Tennessee-based Averitt Express is pitching its cross-docking services to help shippers deal with the ongoing congestion issues at many of the nation’s sea ports.

Drayage capacity also has been affected by the congestion, Averitt notes. With more containers than available trucks to move them all, many shippers are struggling to find solutions for their inland delivery needs. This has led to situations where, in addition to delays, shippers also face potential fines when their containers are left sitting at the port for an extended time.

One workaround shippers can take advantage of to reduce the impact of current supply chain challenges is cross docking, Averitt says — transloading cargo from a container into a standard truck trailer for final delivery. Typically, cross docking services are performed at a truck terminal, warehouse, or distribution center.

When cargo containers are picked up from a port, the shipper essentially pays rent for the time that the container is outside of the hands of the shipping line. If the container is not returned to the port within a specified timeframe, the shipper may begin to accrue additional detention and per diem, or demurrage, fees.

Cross docking allows shippers to reduce the amount of time a container is their financial responsibility. It can reduce warehousing and avoiding demurrage fees associated with international and intermodal cargo containers.

Cross docking services can be employed near seaports to allow drivers to quickly pickup and return the container. By using a distribution center near a port, shippers can quickly transfer cargo into a traditional trailer and allow the driver to return the container back to the container yard. 

Averitt's PortSide Services offer international quick access and turnaround times for cargo needs at numerous major ports, including the ports in Charleston, Houston, Jacksonville, Savannah, Los Angeles, and Norfolk, according to the company.

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