The National Academies

NCFRP 14 [Final]

Truck Drayage Practices

  Project Data
Funds: $390,000
Research Agency: Tioga Group
Principal Investigator: Daniel Smith
Effective Date: 12/5/2008
Completion Date: 10/29/2010
Comments: Published as NCFRP Report 11.

Truck drayage is an integral part of the intermodal freight transportation network. The most visible drayage sector is at seaports, where dray drivers spend a considerable amount of time waiting to enter marine terminals and then often operate in non-productive ways while inside the terminal gate. This leads to increased truck idling, resulting in air pollution and congestion on the roads leading into terminals. Diesel emissions from idling trucks are a serious health concern for communities adjacent to seaports, especially the deepwater ports.  One consequence is that vital infrastructure projects in at least one port are on hold until the diesel emission issue is addressed, even though the number of containers moving through the ports is projected to double by 2020.
In 2006, the Waterfront Coalition held a series of workshops to examine this problem. The workshops included representatives from ocean carriers, terminal operators, the drayage trucking industry, and shippers. The conclusions reached at the workshops were that numerous inefficiencies in the drayage system could be corrected if the parties had a better understanding of the time drayage truck drivers spend queuing to enter marine terminals and the locations of bottlenecks in terminal operations.
Currently, there is only anecdotal information from drayage truck drivers about the length of time they spend in the queues outside the terminal gates and the underlying causes of delay. By using detailed transaction metrics from terminal operators and truck driver surveys, researchers could identify and quantify bottlenecks within the terminals and foster the development of action plans to reduce idling time by drayage truck drivers.
The objective of the research is to develop a guidebook that will identify potential metrics for measuring drayage productivity and improvements that can be made by stakeholders to increase throughput, reduce air pollution, improve freight mobility, and increase truck driver productivity at marine container terminals nationwide. 

Here are an Annotated Bibliography and a Literature Review related to truck drayage.
Status: Published as NCFRP Report 11, Truck Drayage Productivity Guide.  The report is also available electronically at



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