Proper Intermodal Container Loading Procedures
How to keep fleets, drivers and shipments safe.
Proper loading is a key element of keeping fleets, drivers and shipments safe. This includes ensuring the weight of freight is equally distributed on container floors and that containers are properly blocked and braced for intermodal transport in accordance with AAR standards. It is also important to ensure carriers do not engage in hauling overweight or over-gross shipments, as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Maximum Gross Weight
The maximum gross weight allowed, including tractor, in 53-foot domestic intermodal containers is 80,000 pounds. This includes the total combined gross vehicle combination weights of the tractor, chassis and container weight, including lading. For overweight on an axle, the current DOT guidelines are as follows:
- Steer axle (tractor) must not exceed 12,000 pounds
- Drive axle (tractor) must not exceed 17,000 pounds per axle or 34,000 for a typical combined axle weight
- Container/Trailer axle must not exceed 17,000 pounds per axle or 34,000 for a typical combined axle weight
For additional information regarding container weights, please refer to the Union Pacific Master Intermodal Transportation Agreement (MITA), specifically, Item 510. You can access MITA by visiting https://www.up.com/customers/intermodal/resource-center//mita/index.htm.
Weight standards may vary by state. To verify applicable laws and weight limitations, visit http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/publications/brdg_frm_wghts.
Please be aware that there are also requirements unique to the State of California (e.g. CA bridge law). These can be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov.
In order to prevent moving overweight containers, please be aware of the following:
- If the Bill of Lading weight exceeds 42,500 pounds, the container may need to be scaled at or near the origin shipping facility.
- A 53-foot domestic intermodal container and chassis typically weigh 3,000 to 4,000 pounds heavier than a standard aluminum over-the-road trailer.
- All loads, including those with a sleeper berth tractor, which can weigh up to 18,500 pounds, must be within legal weight limits.
Preventing the movement of overweight containers is important for the safety of both shipments and people. Have questions? Contact us.Connect with us