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Before coming to DrayNow, I tried my absolute best to get an understanding of exactly what the company was working with on a daily basis in the intermodal freight market. I knew that trucking involved moving goods and intermodal dealt with the first and last legs of freight transportation to and from the port and/or rail. Once I started, I realized that I barely scratched the surface and there were multiple layers yet to uncover. It was then I realized there was an entire language known to the trucking community that Rosetta Stone couldn’t even translate.

As I get situated with my role and work with the amazing people at DrayNow, I decided to put together a list of terms that I’ve picked up along the way and explain them in layman’s terms so that the language of a drayman is accessible to anyone. If you’d like to learn more about the industry, check out this blog post that provides a cohesive guide to all things intermodal.

Bobtail: With the suffix being -tail, you might think that bobtail is referring to the end of something, perhaps a truck? The bobtail is actually the front part of the truck, excluding any attached trailer hauling anything. If you’ve ever done a double take on the highway after seeing a truck with no trailer attached, you have seen a bobtail.

Deadhead: Besides the dedicated fanbase of a certain 70s band, deadhead can refer to a truck that’s on the road with an empty container. This phenomenon can happen when a driver has dropped the load off at its destination and is now going back to the railyard to drop off the container. There are processes and technologies that can prevent deadheading from taking place, and DrayNow is committed to providing these solutions.

Street Turn: The main solution to prevent deadheading is to seek out a street turn to keep your container full. A street turn aims to maximize the number of loads picked up within each trip and preventing the deadhead scenario from happening. Instead of leaving the point of destination with an empty container, the street turn presents the opportunity for the driver to haul another load back to their container drop-off location. With real-time tracking, DrayNow can let drivers know that they can pick up an additional load along the way.

Ingate: Context clues might give this one away. When a container is ingated, it means that the truck has arrived at its intended destination (usually a railroad terminal). It is essentially ‘in’ the gate. This is either finishing the trip by giving back the empty container, or a full container is being dropped off for the next leg of the trip.

Detention: Before you get a cold sweat and have flashbacks to middle school, it’s important to know that detention refers to more than one thing. This version does have a similar connotation, as it refers to a driver being stuck at a warehouse during the loading/unloading process for an extended period of time. But don’t worry, because the driver will be compensated for their time, unlike school detention.

Lumper: The lumper fee is one that will be added when the warehouse provides workers to help in unloading a container. The carrier may have to pay for the charge up front, but the customer ends up paying the bill. This service can speed up the unloading process which helps the driver get to their next destination in time.

Accessorial: What unites detention and lumper fees is that they are both accessorials, the term given to any fees accumulated during a haul. They refer to any additional services provided in the pickup and delivery process or any hiccups throughout the trip that were out of the driver’s control. There are many moving parts within a driver’s haul, and accessorials help account for anything extra.

“DrayNow provides an easy-to-use marketplace that connects carriers and brokers in hauling the loads of the shippers.

Shipper -> Broker -> Carrier: So you may have gotten to a point where you’re confusing these three roles within the process of hauling freight. Let’s make this explanation into an example. Walmart (a shipper) needs a load delivered. Walmart will delegate the task of finding transportation services to the broker. The broker will then call up a carrier that they work with and that carrier will haul the load. DrayNow provides an easy-to-use marketplace that connects carriers and brokers in hauling the loads of the shippers.

Congratulations! You have now been introduced to and gotten a better understanding of some of the deep cuts within the industry. I would call you a seasoned expert, but there is always more to learn. Keep doing your research and refer back to this and other blog posts for all of your intermodal needs.

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