Schneider National introduces company owned and managed chassis fleet

Company officials said that this investment will help Schneider to deliver what it called “truck-like” intermodal service and also provide consistent access to lightweight, quality chassis when and where shippers need them, which it said has been an ongoing issued in the intermodal sector.

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Last month, Schneider National, the nation’s second-largest truckload carrier which traditionally has been a major player in long-haul intermodal traffic, said it invested in a company-owned and -managed chassis fleet.

Company officials said that this investment will help Schneider to deliver what it called “truck-like” intermodal service and also provide consistent access to lightweight, quality chassis when and where shippers need them, which it said has been an ongoing issued in the intermodal sector.

The company cited various shipper benefits of this investment, including:
-More freight capacity per load: At 500 pounds less per unit, the lightweight design of Schneider’s new chassis allows customers to fit more product into each load for a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly freight move;
-Increased availability: The demand for chassis in shared pools often outstrips supply. Schneider’s additional equipment increases supply and allows the company to precisely match the number of customer orders to equipment availability; and
-Improved reliability: Schneider’s control over the maintenance of its chassis allows the company to maintain as well as identify issues and make repairs before they turn into critical breakdowns and costly delays

“The investment in company-owned and –managed chassis is really an evolution in Schneider’s commitment to provide ‘truck-like’ service for our intermodal customers,” a Schneider spokesperson said in an interview. “We now own crucial pieces of equipment involved in an intermodal move, which gives us more control and strengthens our asset-based service offering. The foundation for this next step in our evolution began about a year ago.”

The company noted that it took delivery of 600 chassis in late October, which has been integrated into its intermodal operations, adding that it expects to convert its entire North American intermodal operation to an owned-chassis model over the next two years.

Other significant intermodal investments made by Schneider in recent years include a container conversion in 2006 and the completion of its container tracking installation last August.

When asked about how the company-owned and –managed chassis fleet with compare to previous operations and processes, the spokesperson said that currently Schneider’s rail providers select a chassis from the shared pool to mount its container on when taken off of the rail, but going forward its chassis will have a separate location in the rail yards and its containers will be mounted only on its chassis.

“We have direct control to ensure that our containers always have a well-maintained, serviceable chassis available,” the spokesperson said, adding that the majority of improvements will come from “an overall lighter design, which will enable Schneider customers to load at least 500 more pounds more than when using a pool chassis. Reliability will be greatly improved, as we will see fewer service issues resulting from chassis maintenance.”

“We’ve operated, maintained and managed tens of thousands of tractors, trailers and containers over the years,” Bill Matheson, president of Intermodal Services at Schneider, said in a statement. “The addition of chassis to our equipment mix is a natural extension and once again demonstrates our commitment to Intermodal.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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