Direct ChassisLink is launching a program to replace bias-ply tires with radial tires on more than 20,000 chassis and plans eventually to convert its entire fleet to radials, as part of its 2014 expansion program.
Intermodal chassis are among the last holdouts for bias-ply tires, which vehicle manufacturers replaced years ago with radials. As container lines have transferred ownership of chassis, lessors and truckers are moving to upgrade equipment in order to improve safety and roadworthiness.
DCLI said it has identified 20,000 chasis for retrofitting with radials at locations throughout the U.S. DCLI owns and manages 105,000 chassis at 155 locations at or near U.S. ports and intermodal hubs.
The company’s conversion to radial tires is in addition to the Premium Program that the equipment provider introduced last summer in Consolidated Chassis Management’s South Atlantic Chassis Pool.
“The conversion to radial tires is part of DCLI’s continuous commitment to the safety of the motoring public and to the efficiency and quality of the chassis equipment that the motor carriers and other DCLI customers rely on,” said Ronald Joseph, DCLI’s chief operating officer.
Curtis Whalen, executive director of the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Council, praised DCLI and said he hopes “that the other chassis equipment providers follow their lead.”
David Manning, president of Tennessee Commercial Warehouse and chairman of the North American Chassis Pool Cooperative, said NACPC “resoundingly supports DCLI’s radial tire retrofit program and the company’s commitment to upgrading the existing national chassis fleet.”
DCLI’s equipment upgrade is part of the company’s 2014 expansion plan, according to William J. Shea Jr., chairman and CEO of DCLI. As container lines continue to exit the chassis business — a transition that Shea said will be complete by June 2014 — the company plans to further its expansion strategy via equipment enhancements and asset management system upgrades, as consolidation with competitors TRAC Intermodal and Flexi-Van is “unlikely,” he said in an interview with the JOC.