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Understanding Bulk Liquid Transportation Equipment

Posted on Thursday January 3, 2019 by April U

Bulk liquid freight, such as petroleum products and chemicals, carry increased environmental risks and thus special care and equipment is needed when transporting these products. It’s of utmost importance for carriers to understand the necessary container specification and hazardous properties of the liquid being transported, the terrain and distance of the route, loading/unloading requirements and many other factors in order to specify and obtain the proper hauling equipment.

At the U.S. market for bulk liquid and chemical transportation continues to expand, companies must find ways to maximize the volume of their loads while minimizing costs and risk when shipping. To help organizations identify the right bulk liquid transportation equipment to fit specific needs, we’ve summarized some of the basic differences between chassis and trailer bulk liquid transportation equipment.

What are Tank Chassis?

One of the most common bulk liquid transportation equipment are drop frame tank Drop Frame Chassis Leasing- Penn Intermodal Leasingchassis, which are typically longer chassis with a lower deck height making it ideal for transporting constantly shifting commodities like liquids via tank containers or Flexi-bags. Drop frame chassis are designed with a low center of gravity, which provides stability and reduces the chance of containers or their contents shifting during tight turns. In addition, the lower center of gravity works to reduce the likelihood of a turn-over accident. In the U.S., the only way to legally transport free standing tank containers with bulk liquids is by utilizing a tank container chassis.

Benefits of Tank Chassis for Bulk Liquid Transportation

  • Ability to be fitted with special design features and accessories including lift-kits and hose tubes which elevates the rear of the tank during loading and unloading to make emptying the container easier.
  • Longer length works to legally scale most filled tanks.
  • Available in tandem axle, tri-axle, and spread axle configurations
    • Tandem axle chassis can typically handle a large part of loaded tank chassis.  
    • Tri-axle tank chassis can transport heavier loads typically with a general vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 80,000 lbs.
    • Spread axle tank chassis can transport even heavier loads than tri-axle chassis but with a lighter tare weight due to the dual axle design.

What are Tank Trailers?
Drop frame tank chassis are the wheel beds which transport containers or flexibags holding bulk liquid.  Tank trailers are large, semi-truck trailers typically constructed of Bulk Liquid Transportation Equipment- Tank Trailers vs Dropframe Chassis- Penn Leasesteel or aluminum. The containers are attached to the trailers and used to transport liquids including gasoline, milk, wine, juice, etc. Bulk liquid tank trailers average about 43’ in length and can vary on their load volume. Tank trailers are distinguishable by their cylindrical shaped tank.

Depending on the tank itself, it can carry multiple products in one load due to compartmentalization, which can be broken into up to 6 compartments for some models.  Not only does the compartmentalization allow for an increased number of delivery options.

Different Types of Tank Trailers for Bulk Liquid Transportation

  • DOT 407
    • Low-pressure (up to 40 psi @70°F) bulk liquid cargo tank
    • Average maximum weight load around 6,000 lbs
    • Contents transported: mild acids, however, water, milk or combustible liquids
  • DOT 412
    • Pressure- 5 to 25 psi
    • Average maximum capacity between 4,000 and 6,000 gallons
    • Contents transported: Corrosives and high weight (gravity) liquids
  • MC 307
    • Low-pressure (up to 40 psi @70°F) bulk liquid cargo tank
    • Average maximum weight load around 6,000 lbs
    • Contents transported: mild acids, however, water, milk or combustible liquids
  • MC 312
    • Pressure- 5 to 25 psi
    • Average maximum capacity between 4,000 and 6,000 gallons
    • Contents transported: Corrosives and high weight (gravity) liquids
  • MC 331
    • Transports gases that are liquefied by pressure application only including propane, chlorine, and butane
    • Pressure – 100 to 500 psi
    • Average maximum capacity from 2,500 gallons for bobtail to 11,500 gallons for highway transport truck

Questions to Address in Determining the Proper Bulk Liquid Transportation Equipment

  • What is the liquid be transported?
  • What are the liquid specific properties? Is it hazardous? Temperature sensitive? Require insulation?
  • How many gallons need to be transported?
  • What kinds of container and equipment will you use to load and unload it?
  • What size hose is needed for loading and unloading?
  • Will the receiver’s facility require any specific equipment?

Bulk Liquid Transportation Equipment to Fit Your Needs
Do you have bulk liquid products that need to be transported?  The right bulk liquid transportation equipment is important for maximizing payloads while transporting liquids. Let our experts help! We are happy to lease our chemical and bulk liquid trailers long-term to a large variety of industries for bulk liquid transport and storage. Our staff will work with you to help choose the right equipment for your needs. Contact us today!

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