Trucking conglomerate Schneider recently purchased its 15,000th intermodal container chassis, which the company noted is a “major milestone” in its effort to convert its intermodal division to a completely company-owned and managed chassis fleet.
Jim Filter, senior vice president and general manager of Schneider’s Intermodal division, added in a statement that the carrier still anticipates it will fully covert to a network of all company-owned chassis by 2017 – three years after it began the conversion process.
“We saw significant issues with the shared chassis pool, causing delays for drivers primarily at the ramp or when experiencing a breakdown on the road,” he explained. “That downtime gets costly for shippers.”
Filter pointed out that by gaining complete control of its chassis equipment, Schneider can improve chassis availability and reliability – two primary service constraints within the intermodal segment, he stressed.
In addition to chassis maintenance and availability issues in shared pools, there are many different specs with varying weights–up to a 700-lb. difference between models, he noted.
Because it is not known which type of chassis will be available at the destination ramp, carriers have to plan as if the load will move on the heaviest chassis type, which limits payloads.
“Schneider now has a standard chassis,” Filter said. “It is 500 lbs. lighter than the lightest chassis in the shared pools; we can plan on that to eliminate the need to reconfigure loads while allowing customers to move up to 45,500-lbs. of product.”
The investment in a company-owned chassis network is one in a series of ongoing improvements to deliver “truck-like” service in the intermodal segment, he noted, with benefits for shippers that include:
- Increased availability: The demand for chassis in shared pools often outstrips supply. Schneider’s equipment increases supply and allows the company to precisely match the number of customer orders to equipment availability.
- Decreased downtime and improved reliability: Schneider’s complete control over the maintenance of its chassis fleet allows the company to maintain as well as identify issues and make repairs before they turn into critical breakdowns and costly delays.
- Cost-efficient shipping: With the variety of chassis in the current chassis pool, a shipper can see as large as a 700-lb. difference between one chassis and another. The lightweight design of Schneider’s new chassis allows customers to secure more product in each load for a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly freight move, the company said.