Promoting Safe Roadway Transport of Heavy Intermodal Cargo via Commercial Trucks and Specialized Chassis

Today’s commercial fleet carriers are faced with various challenges, which include a shortage of qualified drivers combined with an increasing demand for goods. The result of which is the need to transport an increasing number of, and potentially heavier, containerized intermodal freight loads. The safe transport of heavy containerized loads as well as loaded ISO tank containers for bulk liquids across approved roadway routes requires skilled drivers with the proper chassis and equipment.

Promoting Safe Roadways for Intermodal Freight Transportation- Penn Leasing

Handling these heavy loads safely requires experienced drivers that understand the physics of negotiating corners, bends and inclines on various road surfaces. When the carrier has a special permit to haul a containerized load that exceeds the FHA-regulated weight per axle, the driver’s skill and the equipment become even more important to safety.

Some roads with uneven turns and steep grades can cause containerized freight to shift substantially and potentially place undue pressure on the side walls. This is particularly true with loaded tank containers. ISO Tank container chassis are designed to provide a lower deck height for a lower center of gravity, which reduces the likelihood of a turnover accident compared to other chassis.

These specialized 40 – 43 foot long drop frame tank chassis have a standard deck height of 40 inches, which helps to distribute the heavy weight of a loaded ISO tank container by the longer length of the tank chassis. These heavy-duty tank chassis not only distribute the overall weight, but also come in tandem axle, tri-axle, and spread axle configurations to further manage the load. Hi/lo chassis designed to carry two empty tank containers are also available.

In addition, some chassis suppliers are providing significantly lighter drop frame ISO tank chassis. This lower chassis weight allows a slightly greater maximum legal tank load limit while still providing a highly stable chassis.

Sophisticated air ride suspension systems, specialized brakes and tires, and a host of other features can be included in these chassis to accommodate these heavier container loads while making for a more stable ride. In the hand of skilled drivers, these features greatly decrease the chances of roadway accidents.

April Uhlenburg
April U

April has been working with Penn Intermodal’s Sales and Operations teams to educate clients on the benefits of leasing chassis for bulk liquid storage and transport since 2012.