Is a Lightweight Tri-Axle Container Chassis on the Horizon?

By: Ryan Presnal, National Chassis — Many Houstonians in the transportation industry have been talking about a heavy haul corridor for quite some time.  Although several efforts have failed, a new bill was recently proposed in the Texas legislature (SB 1524) once again outlining the possibilities and requirements to haul “heavy” intermodal cargo in and around the Port of Houston area.  The bill was introduced by Texas District 3 Senator Robert Nichols, chair of the Transportation Committee, and is currently being considered in the 85th Texas legislative session. The exciting news is that, if passed, this bill could allow for an additional 9,000 lbs. of payload at a minimum, but potentially much more with the right equipment – like our lightweight tri-axle container chassis. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

This heavy haul bill defines intermodal cargo and the various truck and container chassis requirements to haul cargo at 93,000 and 100,000 lbs. as outlined below:

Texas Heavy Haul Corridor – 93,000 lb. Requirements
In order to haul a gross weight not exceeding 93,000 lbs., the truck-tractor and/or a semi-trailer combination must have a total of six axles and be equipped with a Roll Stability Support Safety System and truck Blind Spot System.  A lightweight tri-axle container chassis must be configured so a tri-axle grouping does not exceed a gross weight of 49,195 lbs., and no single axle in the tri-axle grouping exceeds 16,400 lbs.  Also, “the distance between the individual axles in the three-axle group of the semitrailer (chassis), measured longitudinally, is 60 inches.”

Texas Heavy Haul Corridor – 100,000 lb. Requirements
In order to haul a gross weight not exceeding 100,000 lbs., the truck-tractor and/or semitrailer combination must have a total of seven axles and be equipped with a Roll Stability Support Safety System and truck Blind Spot System.  A lightweight tri-axle container chassis must be configured so a tri-axle grouping does not exceed a gross weight of 46,200 lbs. and no single axle in the group exceeds a gross weight of 15,400 lbs.  Also, same as the tri-axle configuration, “the distance between the individual axles in the three-axle group of the semitrailer, measured longitudinally, is 60 inches.”

Also outlined in SB 1524 are permit fee costs, stipulations on the tractor, permit sticker placement in the vehicle, as well as the radius to which the permit applies- which “may not exceed 30 miles from the port of entry.”

Although this bill will allow for a much heavier load, there are still several things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking into a new lightweight chassis fleet. Making sure that your container chassis are in compliance with these new restrictions is our top priority. One of the ways we’re able to do this is with accurate weight distribution. We’ll work with you to design your chassis using the latest axle load configuration software making sure that you get the maximum payload for your axle grouping, while ensuring none of the axle limitations are exceeded, as outlined in SB 1524.

Our 40’ lightweight chassis models are some of the lightest in the industry and we have the capability to customize chassis as needed to meet our customers changing needs. We offer lightweight quad and lightweight tri-axle container chassis configurations to meet all of your heavy haul requirements.

Send me an email or give me a call if I can answer any of your questions or if I can help you increase your payload!  -Ryan