Transloading and cross docking represent one of the biggest tradeoffs in the logistics industry. On one hand, moving items between transportation methods entails the risk of loss or damage. On the other hand, making sure that your shipments are always on the right kind of transportation can easily reduce shipping times by 25 percent. The key to successful transloading and crossdocking is working with a 3PL that does it the right way in the right place.
Transloading and Crossdocking
Transloading and crossdocking refer to the practice of moving goods between transportation providers. For instance, a company might transload boxes from a shipping container coming off of a flatbed rail car into delivery trucks that bring the boxes to an array of regional retail outlets. Crossdocking refers to when the goods get quickly moved between two transportation methods. Frequently, crossdocking operations use specially designed facilities with dock doors on either side, letting the workers bring the goods a short distance across the building.
Transloading and crossdocking bring multiple benefits. The first is that when goods go from container to truck, truck to railcar, or any other combination, they aren’t sitting in a warehouse. This reduces storage costs.
In addition, it doesn’t always make sense to leave product in the same place. For instance, if a truck is going from the east coast to Denver on Interstate 70, it makes sense to pull off items bound for the western half of South in St. Louis where then can be diverted to another truck heading down I-55.
Done right, these practices don’t increase the amount of handling that a product encounters — it reduces it, since the products get move to where they need to be, then stay there. A more efficient supply chain can also enable companies to operate with smaller retail spaces since they are able to be replenished more frequently.
Why St. Louis?
The nature of transloading and crossdocking is that it happens somewhere in the supply chain. In other words, it’s a step that occurs between when the item first leaves the factory and when it arrives at its end destination. With this in mind, the best transloading and crossdocking locations are typically those that are centrally located. Few places in America are as central and well-connected as St. Louis. Enjoying a location at the intersection of Interstates 55 and 70 as well as at major regional road connections, crossdocking in St. Louis is convenient for truck traffic. With major rail yards, a capacious cargo airport and a year-round river port, it is also an inter-modal center.
St. Louis has something else that other centrally located cities lack — a highly skilled logistics workforce. Given that transloading and crossdocking can be a sensitive process where errors can cause delayed shipments or lost merchandise, having the right people to perform the task is crucial. St. Louis’s workforce is both broadly skilled and affordably priced.
If you would like to learn more about how Clark Logistic Services can help you with transloading and crossdocking as well as with other 3PL needs, fill out the form on this page. We will be in touch shortly.