Crossdocking vs Transloading

Crossdocking vs Transloading are both two common industry terms for anyone dealing with logistics, freight and transport. Both of these terms involve the overloading of cargo from one transportation source to another – but each of these are suited to different types of products, and which you need to choose depends on your transport needs. Here are the differences between Crossdocking vs Transloading.

Crossdocking vs Transloading Shipping in Milwaukee


Transloading services involve large batches of cargo that are offloaded at one point and subsequently “transloaded” to another transportation method. Usually, trucks will take cargo through to the offloading point where cargo will be offloaded and have to stay at this location until they are loaded to another transportation source. Some of the drawbacks of transloading includes the speed at which this process can take place: Sometimes the reloading of cargo only happens later on the same day or the very next morning, which delays the entire supply chain process – and is obviously not ideal for any fresh goods. Transloading can also be more expensive and warrant larger cargo shipments, and there are increasing concerns that transloading can increase the risk for trucks and drivers.


Crossdocking services refer to the direct loading of a shipment from one transport  method (such as a delivery truck) directly to another (often another truck). This is commonly seen where companies either work in co-operation with others for a faster supply chain, or where companies own their own transportation branch to take over from there for the rest of the journey. Sometimes crossdocking services go together with less-than-truckload shipments, which commonly lessens the cost for both companies.

Crossdocking shipments are gaining more popularity because they cut out the waiting time that a transloading service might involve. Instead of waiting at a destination to be loaded to the next transportation service, crossdocking happens both directly and immediately. For clients, businesses and the whole supply chain, crossdocking offers a faster way to get from one point to another. This is great for any business supply chains that need to operate with considerable speed (think of ones like Wal-Mart or Amazon Prime) or ones that are transporting any goods that have specific time constraints, especially fresh goods. There’s no offloading time, there’s no waiting time – and the risk for drivers, trucks or any precious cargo being damaged while it just sits there at the offloading destination is considerably less when a logistics company chooses crossdocking instead.

Boost distribution speed

Speed to market is a key ingredient to an efficient supply chain. Both Crossdocking vs Transloading services deliver this benefit by consolidating products and shipping directly to the final customer, without incurring the costs and delays associated with storing product at a warehouse.

Both transload services and crossdock services can include product customization, such as labeling and kitting, at the warehouse/crossdock facility.  With continued advancements in computer technology in the supply chain, transload services and cross dock services have become more efficient and will continue to gain momentum.

By allowing a retailer to ship only the amount they need, a cross-docking facility can help a company manage demand with close margins. Transloading facilities can work with local port-side warehousing facilities to feed cargo to cross dockers as demand fluctuates, rather than waiting for resupply from overseas factories. Using these facilities properly allows a company to manage freight smarter, which can cut warehousing costs, expedite last-mile fulfillment to a customer or end user, and much more.

Which option is best for me?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both crossdocking and transloading. However, one is bound to suit your needs more. You should ask yourself the following:

  • Where is my business located?
  • Does my product have a high turnover that requires faster shipping?
  • What mode of transportation must be used?
  • Where is my product being shipped to?

Answering these questions will help you decide the best method for your business.


As the supply chain evolves to meet new customer demand and expectations, each piece in this puzzle becomes more essential. Advanced transloading and cross-docking are helping companies meet demand in creative new ways. A more nimble supply chain means smarter and more specialized facilities. Having a partner at the port to help navigate this space is indispensable for hitting deadlines with ease.

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