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Tips for Lowering Ocean Freight Drayage Costs: Why Cargo Rolls Are a No Win Scenario

December 8, 2023

The difficulties involved with ocean freight transportation can present a considerable challenge for shippers. The constant struggle of balancing cargo delivery and ocean freight drayage costs only complicates an already multi-faceted problem. Delays and bottlenecks at ports worldwide contribute to an increased rate of drayage fees, demurrage surcharges, and cargo transport expenses. 

Despite continued recovery efforts and a renewed focus on port logistics, these challenges persist and disrupt supply chain operations. According to the Journal of Commerce, “More than 20 percent of transshipped containers in the second half of last year did not make their booked sailing departure, new data shows, underscoring the challenges for cargo owners that don’t have direct services to their destination.” 

Finding ways to manage better, track, and reduce ocean freight drayage costs, rolled cargo, and shipping delays will allow for continued growth and success within the modern-day ocean transportation network.

Ocean Freight Drayage Costs and Why They Matter

One of the biggest challenges shippers face when dealing with the ebb ad flow of ocean transportation is the problem of rolled cargo. These delays can be days, weeks, and sometimes even longer when tight capacity and backlogs get bad. Rolled cargo means capacity changes in drayage and may lead to unexpected costs as demurrage fees, rentals, and capacity issues contribute to higher shipping costs. 

The complex nature of ocean freight drayage costs often requires special tools and customized approaches. This enables proper management of ocean transport through real-time container tracking software and collaborative third-party partnerships. 

Track Real-Time Container Status to Reduce Dwell Time and Avoid Drayage Fees

Drayage fees get imposed to help keep ocean containers from sitting unused and inaccessible for long periods. The longer a container takes to be unloaded and returned to the port, the longer it will take for cargo waiting on the docks to be loaded and shipped. The fees aim to help free up ports by forcing shipping companies to return containers sooner. Ocean freight drayage costs are directly tied to dwell time and shipping delays. Shippers can avoid high fees and dwell times by implementing real-time tracking software and monitoring systems that make it easier to keep tabs on every container currently en route. Staying on top of potential delays, minimizing them, and addressing issues sooner rather than later will help reduce fees and keep ocean freight costs more manageable.

Streamline and Integrate Both Communication and Scheduling Issues to Prevent Rolled Cargo

At the heart of most issues leading to increased ocean freight drayage costs and fees lies instances of poor communication and substandard scheduling practices. Without a unified platform, problems arise, and a lack of visibility contributes to poor communications and scheduling issues. 

Such problems are unacceptable when rates are sitting at all-time highs. With ocean freight carriers reporting profits of more than $150 billion in 2021, carriers can easily be selective, Bloomberg points out. In turn, “customers [i.e., imports and exporters] are anguishing over the situation. Smaller importers and exporters have seen their cargo getting “rolled”— bumped like passengers from an oversold flight — and sometimes canceled outright despite contractual obligations with carriers.”

Many issues resulting in rolled cargo status stem from poor communication and scheduling complies or oversights by streamlining and integrating current systems with innovative tools and supply chain technology, dealing with missed deadlines and possible dwell times. 

The sooner the issue gets the attention they need, the sooner the cargo can continue on its way without incurring additional fees and expenses. 

Utilize a Collaborative Platform That Allows All Team Members to Access Real-Time Data

Innovation and supply chain technology allow for better monitoring and logistical planning across multiple platforms and make it easy for all involved parties to coordinate. Managing ocean freight drayage costs becomes more uncomplicated and straightforward when accurate and reliable data is available. Tapping into real-time data specific to an individual company or shipment makes it easier for all team members to coordinate and do their jobs efficiently. 

Data that can be adequately analyzed and responded to remains a critical part of supply chain management and ocean freight logistics. Avoiding dwell times, rolled cargo, and excess drayage fees mean improving data access through collaborative platforms and cloud-based container visibility software. Utilizing the latest technology for supply chain management lessens confusion and integrates with many of the world’s best platforms, including CargoWise

Discover New Ways to Manage Ocean Freight Drayage Costs and Partner With the Right Company Today

The continued pressures felt by supply chain directors and logistics managers only serve to highlight further the issue freight costs and fees are having on the industry. Challenges surrounding ocean freight transportation can make the simple task of moving goods from one location to another exponentially more difficult and costly for shippers. The near-constant struggle of balancing ocean freight drayage costs only complicates current issues plaguing today's shipping and transportation. 

Delays and bottlenecks at domestic ports, increased rates of drayage fees, rising demurrage surcharges, and more instances of rolled cargo make ocean transport more challenging than ever. Thankfully, help is available, and you can tap into the latest in ocean freight cost management and monitoring systems by getting a demo of OpenTrack today. 

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