Case Study: Cross Dock at Port
DZ Series


An international third-party logistics company (3PL), representing one of the largest retailer in the U.S., wanted to quickly establish an import distribution center at the Port of Charleston’s Leatherman Terminal to receive overseas containers and mitigate congestion issues at west coast ports. The 3PL needed the building ASAP and there were no viable facilities nearby or ample time for permanent construction. ​They identified a large land parcel with proximity to the South Carolina port and tapped Dockzilla to build a custom transloading building to quickly transfer goods from overseas containers to trailers.

Project at a Glance:

  • 36,000 sq. ft. building is all-inclusive of Dockzilla Dock House Exterior Levelers, doors, forklift access ramps, stairs and more.​
  • 60-dock solution allows a 3PL to utilize a new port for overseas containers.​
  • 15,000 containers move through Dockzilla cross dock yearly
  • 147 MPH wind-rated structure to protect from inclement coastal weather


The Challenge

HDR Cross Dock Camera May AM

BEFORE: Leased facility with no dock levelers

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AFTER: Exterior Dock House levelers installed at varied depths

Get Cross Docking in Record Time

West coast ports were jammed and a permanent structure was not a viable option due to both timing and real estate availability. So, when it came to scaling their operations and leveraging a new port, they could not settle for the constraints of permanent consruction.

Project Must-Haves:

  • Engineered for the customer’s specific needs with application-specific dock equipment
  • Stand-alone fire suppression system, conduit run electrical and air/ventilation system
  • Stand up to coastal weather–especially wind and rain
  • Mock-speed installation
  • An asset that can be relocated in the future

The Solution

In just five months from concept to completion, Dockzilla stood up a 36,000 sq. ft. cross dock membrane-style building with 60 loading dock positions on an asphalt lot. The building was anchored by an elevated steel platform foundation for forklift traffic.

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Stand-Alone Fire Suppression

Elevated, modular steel platform with integrated NFPA compliant, stand-alone fire suppression system.

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Permanent Solution

Permanent solution with 30-year warranty on NFPA 701 compliant membrane covering and a 5-year structural warranty on all the dock equipment.

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Built-In Safety

Application-specific dock equipment, including built-in fall protection as part of Dockzilla’s selt-standing Dock House leveler design.

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Pre-Fabricated for Quick Install

Each modular platform section was pre-fabricated off-site for quick assembly. This also allows the entire structure to be relocated as needed.


Protected Loading

All 60 exterior dock levelers and covered Dock Houses featured a rain diverter to ensure water would not permeate the structure while trucks were in place.

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Attached Offices

Temperature-controlled offices and facilities built for employee comfort.

The Results

First-Mile Game Changer

The Dockzilla cross dock solution is a first-mile game changer for the 3PL, with their large customer aiming to bring 15,000 containers through the site in a year, with the potential to grow to 50,000/yr. They’re now able to quickly scale their operations while leveraging new port options without the constraints of permanent construction, local warehouse availability or retrofitting. Trucks can offload overseas shipping containers to the transloading platform to begin their journey in record time as the space was customized specifically for their needs and inclusive of all dock equipment.

“Target, the nation’s second-biggest importer behind Walmart, has been using a portable cross-dock hub built on a future expansion site at the North Charleston terminal since August. Such set-ups allow a company bring cargo containers in on one side of the building and then load them onto trucks on the other side. The temporary facility was set up by Minnesota-based Dockzilla Co., which builds portable loading systems and warehouses.”

Charleston Post & Courier (January 29, 2023)

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