APL Logistics, looking for greater efficiency matching international and U.S. domestic transport, will deploy its own fleet of 53-foot containers in the North American domestic intermodal market.
The company’s first truck-size boxes hit highways and railroads at the end of May and APL expects to build the
fleet to 1,000 units by the end of August and add to the number through the end of the year.
The move follows calls by some shippers for transport providers to offer more 53-foot containers along with the 20-, 40- and 45-foot boxes common to international ocean transport. The 53-foot boxes match truck length and so allow for more flexibility and efficient transfer for inland distribution, particularly for strategies such as transloading.
Intermodal moves of 53-foot trailers surged 21.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 in the strongest gain since 2005, according to the the Intermodal Association of North America.
The additions supplement containers provided by APL Logistics’ railroad partners. They also come as warnings are spreading in the shipping industry of a potential shortage this fall in standard ocean containers.
“We’re putting our own containers into the market to better assure our North American customers of equipment availability and uninterrupted freight services,” said Dave Howland, APL Logistics’ vice president for land transport services.’
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/PeterTLeach