What is Cross-Docking?

8 Apr 2021 Freight Shipping

In the world of logistics, there are many methods of freight shipping, sorting, and distribution. Shipments often need to pass through multiple “links” in a supply chain before arriving at their destination. Cross-docking is a method of shipping and sorting that streamlines the links within a supply chain. Instead of products arriving at a warehouse and staying there for extended periods, they are quickly unloaded from a vehicle, sorted, and directly reloaded onto another vehicle. This often results in a lean and more efficient shipping process.

Knowing what cross-docking is will enable you to make an informed choice for your logistics requirements. That is why the experts at C&D Logistics have compiled some information outlining what cross-docking is and what products are suitable for it.

Learn more about cross-docking advantages.

Types of Cross-Docking

There are many different types of cross-docking used by companies and warehouses. Some cross-docking can also occur between multiple facilities depending on the carrier. Cross-docking methods include:


Manufacturing cross-docking involves receiving purchased and inbound products or materials for manufacturing purposes. In some instances, the warehouse may receive the products and then prepare sub-assemblies for production orders.


Distributor cross-docking is used to consolidate inbound products from different vendors into a mixed product pallet. This pallet is then delivered to the customer when the final item is received. Distributor cross-docking is often used for computer parts or other products/orders with many components.


Transportation cross-docking combines LTL and small package shipments from multiple carriers. This creates larger shipments for economic scalability and reduced handling requirements.


As the name implies, retail cross-docking is often used by large retail stores. This method involves the receipt of products from multiple vendors. These products are then sorted and placed on outbound trucks for different store locations. Retail cross-docking often involves products known as “staple stock” which are items that the retailer sells every day of the year.


Opportunistic cross-docking can be used in any warehouse. This method involves transferring a product directly from a receiving dock to an outbound dock to meet a customer sales order.

Which Products are Suitable for Cross-Docking?

Though nearly any product can be shipped via cross-docking, some items are more suited to it than others. These items include:

  • Perishable items like food and produce that require immediate shipment.
  • Products that have barcodes, are pre-ticketed, and ready for sale.
  • Promotional items and products that have not yet been released (movies, video games, etc.).
  • Staple retail products that are in constant demand or have a low variance in demand.
  • Pre-picked and pre-packaged customer orders from another production plant or warehouse.

To learn more about cross-docking and other shipping solutions, reach out to the experts at C&D Logistics at 604-881-4440. Their team will work with you to determine the optimal logistics solution for your exact needs.