Wabash National Corp.has received orders exceeding $70 million from J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. for 6,000 53-foot DuraPlate domestic containers, as well as a smaller number of container chassis.
The 53-foot domestic containers will be of a new design featuring Wabash National's proprietary DuraPlate technology. The stackable, high-cube design features an uninterrupted sidewall and interior dimensions with characteristics that closely resemble conventional trailers. The new containers will be the first 53-foot units in the J.B. Hunt fleet with sufficient strength to permit the containers to be positioned on the bottom of a "double-stack" on the railcar.
"We are very pleased that J.B. Hunt has selected the DuraPlate container for their intermodal operations, in addition to the DuraPlate trailer for their over-the-road operations,” said Richard E. Dessimoz, acting CEO of Wabash. “We are confident that the DuraPlate material will prove to be an excellent performer in this new application."
In addition to increased customer acceptance, Wabash said the containers incorporate many features that will reduce maintenance costs and increase durability. These will be the first production domestic containers to use the DuraPlate sidewall material.
The DuraPlate material is composed of a polyethylene plastic core sandwiched between two sheets of pre-painted (inner and outer) high-strength galvanized steel. Wabash said the result is an efficient, lightweight, incredibly strong panel that provides important advantages over both aluminum plate and traditional sheet and post sidewall designs.
"We have been delighted with the performance and quality of our large fleet of DuraPlate van trailers in our truck business unit,” said Kirk Thompson, president & CEO of J.B. Hunt Transportation Services. “Now we have the opportunity to not only convert our intermodal container fleet to exclusively 53-foot equipment, but to do it by replacing our 48-foot equipment with stackable 53-foot DuraPlate containers.”
Thompson said J.B. Hunt’s intermodal customers will have North America's largest fleet of exclusively 53-foot containers at their disposal, while its rail partners will have the option of stacking the new containers on top in traditional configurations or in the bottom of 53-foot rail cars.
With the addition of DuraPlate domestic containers, Wabash now offers a complete line of intermodal equipment including domestic containers, piggyback trailers and bi-modal equipment.