Cross-dock Services and Transload Services: What’s the Difference?
In the logistics industry, there’s occasionally some confusion about the difference between cross-dock services and transload services. While the strategies are different, these two methods have a similar goal. Ultimately, both work to reduce costs in the supply chain. Both services include handling a product and delivering it to multiple locations via truck. As companies continue to set up supplies and manufacturing abroad, the inbound containers that come in via ship have increased. While there may be some changes in the future with the current logistics situation, ports continue to see increasing volumes.
What Is Transloading?
With our transloading services, we transfer container cargo from one form of transportation to another. When we utilize this method, it tends to be at our warehouse near a port terminal. We remove the container and take it into our facility. From there, we transfer the cargo to truckload or a domestic container. During this process, it’s common to palletize cargo. This is because many ocean containers are floor loaded. We achieve cost savings by switching to a truck. However, there’s always the potential for delays, theft, or damage at the port.
Oftentimes, major retailers utilize cross-docking within their distribution centers to handle store inventories. To do so, they consolidate the inbound cargo to outbound LTL trucks or FTL shipping out to these stores. In cross-docking, the process involves unloading goods from one container and loading them directly onto a truck for delivery. Instead of storing items, the team stages them near a dock door to await loading. Therefore, the turnaround time between receipt and shipment is reduced significantly. However, this improved turnaround requires excellent coordination and communication across all parties in the supply chain. Typically, electronic feeds provide relevant data about the cargo, expected arrival, and pickup location. Without timely, accurate data, you often see delays and inefficiency.
Improving the Supply Chain
As stated, the end goal of cross-dock services and transload services is the same. We want to improve the speed to market while reducing costs for clients. That is the key ingredient of an effective, efficient supply chain. Both of these services help to consolidate cargo and ship it to its destination without the delays and costs of warehouse storage. With these methods, it’s important for a customized, highly communicative process at an efficient facility. The continued advances in technology across the supply chain help us continue to be more effective as we ship the unshippable.