What Is the Difference Between Transloading and Cross-Docking?


The world of logistics can sometimes be confusing to navigate. There are a lot of terms to understand, some of which sound almost identical. 

For example, what is the difference between transloading and cross-docking? Although the words are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually refer to different processes of transporting goods.

Depending on the location of your customers, the distance of your supplier, and your storage capacity, one option may be more beneficial than the other.  

What Is Transloading?

Transloading refers to the process of a facility receiving an inbound shipment, breaking down the shipment pallets, and then storing them. When the facility is ready to ship the product out, they repackage some or all of it accordingly and create their own outbound shipment.

This term can also be used to describe a shipment that requires more than one mode of transportation. For example, if you’re shipping overseas, and then across the country, you will need multiple transloading procedures.

Benefits of Transloading

Transloading is most beneficial in scenarios where the product must reach multiple different locations. The storage facility should be located somewhere near the center of all these locations. Then, when a customer orders the product, it can be shipped out quickly and efficiently. This lowers wait time and boosts customer satisfaction.

This can also be the cheaper option for many businesses, especially if you utilize a third-party logistics provider. Without needing to manage and facilitate your own storage facilities, you can save time, money, and energy. 

What Is Cross-Docking?

Cross-docking, on the other hand, involves transporting materials from one facility to another with very little storage time in between. It can also refer to delivering the goods from a facility directly to the customer. 

You can think about the word quite literally; the product moves almost directly from an inbound dock to an outbound dock. Typically, it will stay on the original pallets without being broken down or repackaged. This expedites the process.

Benefits of Cross-Docking

This option can be cheaper if your business receives multiple small shipments, which can be combined on one truck and sent out. It is also ideal if the shipment only requires one method of transportation before it reaches the customers. 

Another major benefit of cross-docking is that it tends to reduce damage the product acquires during shipping. Since there is less unpacking, transporting, and repackaging, the product is more likely to stay in perfect condition.

Finally, without the need for storing individual products, cross-docking can make inventory management more simple. 

3PL Cross-Docking Services by Cannon Hill Logistics

If your business is stretched thin managing your own logistics, it may be time to switch to a third-party logistics provider. Cannon Hill Logistics can help!

We offer expert logistics services on the East Coast, including cross-docking and transloading services. Conveniently located on the East Coast, we can ship to half of the US population within two business days using ground transportation.

Call now to discover how we can help your business thrive.