A look at container chassis and their different implications

For our intents and purposes, we transport shipping containers on flatbed trailers. This is a simple and convenient way to deliver to customers in remote areas and it also offers flexibility in loading and unloading in designated spots. Another benefit is not having to hire a crane or forklift to unload these sea cans are customers’ location.

For supply chain purposes though, most containers are transported on designated trailers and chassis. These trailers are essentially simple metal frames with wheels and an axle system. Some can be extended to accommodate different sizes of containers while others are fixed for only one size of container.

So what are the advantages of framed chassis compared to flat beds?

Security. Standard container chassis offer the most secure way of transporting containers between locations. This is the case because the container corner posts a locked in place onto the chassis’ own corner posts, securing the container on all four corners. Alternatively, flat bed trailers only secure the units with ropes.

Weight. Typically, container chassis are built with lightweight metal frames, making it possible to quickly and securely transport units. Adding more axles to a chassis increases the ability to carry larger and heavier containers, while still maintaining a relatively lightweight trailer.

Specialty applications. Like with specialist containers, there are also specialized chassis that carry only certain types of containers. For example, chassis frames are sometimes designed with a generator attached to them in order to carry reefer containers. This allows the driver of the truck to leave the reefer unit functioning during transport and maintain a temperature-controlled environment inside the container.

How do you choose a chassis that meets your purposes? Well, that depends entirely on what you’re using it for. If your needs regularly change, you also have the option to rent different chassis. The costs vary based on which chassis you actually rent and also the location. However, for those just starting out in the transport industry, it’s a good way to test out different options and identify business needs.

Just like with the container shortage, the transport industry was affected by an increase in the demand for shipping and transport of containers across the globe. It seems however that the supply of trailers and chassis did not suffer from shortage as greatly as the shipping container industry did. Many trailer options have remained available throughout the pandemic and since restrictions began being lifted.