What is an Intermodal Trailer?

An intermodal trailer, also known as a container chassis or skeleton trailer, is a semi-trailer designed to safely carry intermodal containers, which is the important part of intermodal transportation. Truckers use the chassis to move containers between ports, rail yards, container yards and shipper facilities.

intermodal trailer

What is intermodal transportation?

Intermodal transportation is the transportation of cargo using many different modes of transportation, each handled by a different carrier. All the carriers are responsible for the successful delivery of the final shipment, but each is only responsible for its own part of the transportation.

intermodal transportation

What are the benefits of using intermodal transportation?

  • Lower costs. Because you choose different carriers for different parts of your shipment, you can take advantage of lower rates and reduce handling costs.
  • Reliable and safe. Shippers can choose the most efficient combination of transportation methods to transport cargo, which can reduce transit time. Specialized carriers can also enhance the safety of cargo transportation.
  • Environmentally friendly. By using intermodal transportation, you can choose environmentally friendly transportation methods.

The most common items transported by intermodal trailers:

  • Non-perishable goods, such as manufactured goods
  • Temperature-sensitive perishable and frozen cargo, such as meat, seafood, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products
  • Oversized cargoes such as heavy machinery, construction materials and lumber
  • Bulk hazardous or non-hazardous chemicals, liquids, oils and foodstuffs

The 8 most common containers transported by intermodal trailers:

  1. Dry containers

Mainly used for storing and transporting dry materials such as wooden or cardboard boxes, pallets and drums.

This type of container is completely sealed and is not equipped with a cooling system and ventilation system like refrigerated containers or vented containers.

  1. Open top container

Same function as dry containers, but this type of container required a crane to load and unload large items that are too heavy to be handled manually or to fit into a standard dry container.

  1. Refrigerated Containers

Reefer containers are equipped with a refrigeration system that keeps the internal temperature of the container between -35ºC and +15ºC.

They are mainly used for transporting temperature and time sensitive perishable goods, such as fish, meat, medicines and pharmaceuticals.

  1. Open side containers

These containers have 2 pairs of doors: normal doors along the breadth and specialized doors along the length.

Large-sized equipment and machinery that are difficult to load through normal doors can enter these containers through the side doors and do not have to spend a lot of money renting cranes.

  1. Flat rack container

A flat rack container is used to ship products that cannot fit inside a standard container. It has walls or support post on the ends, which allows for the loading of cargo from the top and/or sides, such as heavy machinery, pipes and construction materials.

  1. Double-door container

Double-door containers have double doors at both ends. These containers are very practical and help to load and unload construction materials such as steel quickly.

  1. Insulated containers

Insulated containers are built for year-round use. It is similar to refrigerated transport containers, insulated containers have adjustable temperature control and are used to withstand higher temperatures.

  1. Tank container

Tank containers or tankers are intermodal containers used to transport liquids, gases and powders as bulk cargo.

They are made of steel or other anti-corrosion materials for the transport of liquid materials and long life protection.

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