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What is Cross-Docking and How Is It Used In Import and Export

When it comes to freight logistics, it’s always complex to work out the most suitable approach! With options available like warehousing, cross-docking and shipping, there’s no single way to move your goods.

Cross-docking is an option that many clients may wish to consider – but it’s not always immediately obvious what it means. This method of moving goods differs from a warehousing system, which typically requires a distributor to have stocks of their product on hand to ship to their customers, and offers a number of specialised advantages and benefits for clients.

In this guide to cross-docking, learn what it is, what the benefits of cross-docking are and when you should use cross-docking as your shipping method of choice.

What is cross-docking?

As we’ve mentioned, the cross-docking system differs from warehousing and instead uses technology to create a Just-In-Time shipping process. A Just-In-Time shipping process streamlines the order-to-shipping system, as the production process only commences when a customer placed an order, and inventory stock is only delivered as and when it is needed.

Cross-docking is a means of transportation which eliminates the need for a “storage” link in the supply chain. Within the cross-docking system, products are unloaded directly from a truck or railroad car, sorted there and then, and directly reloaded on the second set of outbound trucks or rail carriages. In this method, products going to the same destination can therefore easily be consolidated, using fewer transport vehicles which can be both efficient both environmentally and financially!

What is involved in cross-docking?

There are two main types of cross-docking, which are called Pre-Distribution and Post-Distribution.

Pre-Distribution Cross-Docking


In this cross-docking type, your goods are unloaded, sorted, and repacked in accordance with pre-determined instructions. In this context, the customer is identified before the goods are moved from the supplier.

Post-Distribution Cross-Decking


In this version of the process, the goods may spend slightly longer in the cross-docking facility, because sorting is deferred until the proper facility and customers are chosen, based on demand. However, suppliers and retailers can enjoy the additional time to decide where to ship their goods based on sales forecasts, in-store inventory, and point of sale trends.


What are the advantages of cross-docking?


There are a number of key benefits of incorporating cross-docking into your supply chain – although the exact advantages will differ from industry to industry based on your exact courier needs! The main benefits of cross-docking are as follows:

  • Cost Reduction

Thanks to the fact that your products are spending a hugely reduced (or no) time in the warehouse, inventory handling, and storage costs are greatly reduced.

  • Streamlining of Supply Chain

Given that your goods are simply being transferred from one vehicle to another, your supply chain is streamlined and simplified – meaning your goods make it to their final destination earlier. This also gives you a competitive advantage over other supply chain methods!

  • Environmental Advantages

Products going to the same destination can be easily consolidated, which means your transport supply chain can use fewer transport vehicles – more beneficial to the planet than multi-vehicle chains.


Cross-docking vs. Warehousing

We’ve looked at some of the advantages of cross-docking. Let’s compare now some of the key differences between cross-docking and warehousing, another popular method of moving goods! Warehousing is the more traditional method of transportation, but cross-docking offers some undeniable benefits over warehousing. These include the reduction of costs mentioned above, a reduction of the risk to your product (thanks to the streamlining of the supply chain) and time saving in the preparation of products for shipping, in addition to the speed of delivery.

Cross-docking with Speedy Freight

When you transport goods with Speedy Freight, you can rest assured that we’ll move your goods in the most suitable way possible. Thanks to our experience with Just-In-Time supply chains, warehousing, and cross-docking, our expert teams are able to move your goods quickly, easily and as simply as possible.

To arrange your cross-docking courier service with Speedy Freight, don’t hesitate to contact our admin teams who operate 24-7, 365 – including weekends and holidays – to get your goods to you on time. Whatever you need – we’re there.

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