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Cross-docking is a logistics strategy that keeps supply chains moving in a productive, effective manner. In this practice, cargo is immediately unloaded from an incoming container and then loaded directly to an outbound carrier.

Instead of a standard distribution center (DC), cross-docking facilities are more of a “sorting center”; a place where goods quickly pass through. Cross-docking facilities require far less storage space than a DC. The docking terminal consists of inbound and outbound lanes. Inbound shipments are assigned to a receiving dock and then the products are either moved directly to outbound destinations on forklifts or conveyor belts, or sorted and consolidated before making their way to outbound shipping. The goods usually spend less than 24 hours within a dock terminal.

Cross-docking seems to be a universal upgrade for the supply chain. However, there are some industries that especially benefit from this method, they include:

-Perishable goods, foods and beverages
-Inbound supplier components and raw materials
-Already packed and sorted products, parcels

Cross-docking is cost-effective for a company with high-volume shipments and substantial transportation needs – otherwise, shipping won’t be smooth or fast. Cross-docking requires a heavy investment in automation, visibility, outbound and inbound logistics.

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