TRAC Intermodal has unveiled an upgraded service that provides higher-quality intermodal chassis that the company says will be pre-inspected and “green-tagged” so truck drivers can pick them up without waiting for repairs.
TRAC, which has about 272,000 chassis and is the largest U.S. chassis lessor, said its TRAC Private Chassis Pool is being introduced in the New York-New Jersey metro area and will be expanded to other major markets where the company operates.
Truckers frequently complain about poor quality of intermodal chassis, many of which were sold to lessors by container lines. Most marine chassis in the U.S. market still use outdated bias-ply tires, which years ago were replaced by radials on cars and trucks. Drivers often must wait for a depot’s mechanics to make repairs before they can take a unit on the road.
Lessors have made a start at upgrading equipment. TRAC offers a premium TRAC Titan 40-foot chassis for rent and has been rebuilding hundreds of chassis. Direct ChassisLink Inc. provides a Premium Program with higher-quality chassis equipped with radial tires and LED lights, and last year announced a program to retrofit 20,000 chassis with radials.
TRAC’s Private Chassis Pool will provide three kinds of specialized equipment: tri-axle units for heavy cargoes; TRAC Titan 40-foot chassis with LED lights, automatic tire-airing systems, GPS, and ABS brakes; and refurbished 40-foot units with LED lights, radials and new braking systems.
The company said drivers may make an online reservation for one of these chassis up to 24 hours in advance. When the reservation is made, mechanics will inspect the chassis and make repairs, if needed. The driver will still need to conduct a pre-trip inspection, but TRAC said pickup should take only about 20 minutes.
The Private Chassis Pool is being offered initially at TRAC’s Polaris Street depot near Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. Daily rental costs are $40 for tri-axles, $24 for TRAC Titans, and $23.50 for refurbished units. Regular TRAC chassis rent for $20.25 a day in New York-New Jersey.