What Is Cross-Docking?

What is Cross Docking?

Instead of a long-haul driver back tracking when making local deliveries, an over-the-road truck unloads, re-shuffles or re-organizes the load at a local warehouse maximizing driver productivity.

Instead of cargo being delivered to a warehouse, an inbound truck unloads goods, and transfers them to an outbound truck. Simply put, goods are transferred from one form of transportation to another in a docking terminal, skipping their costly warehouse stay. Thus the name "cross docking", as cargo is transfered "across" the "docking" terminal. Operations may utilize staging areas for inbound materials, typically spending between an hour to less than 24 hours at a facility. Thus inventory holding is minimized.

Cross Docking History

The US trucking industry pioneered this process in the 1930s and continue to use it in LTL (less than truckload) operations. The practice spread to the US military in the 1950s and to Wal-Mart and the retail sector in the late 1980s.