New US Container Line

Would a new US Trans-Pacific Express Container Line help??:

Carrying US standard 53’ Containers and with own gear to operate independent of congested Container Terminals MAY help alleviate the problem on the US end, but how does 53* containers fit the existing infrastructure (Ports, Trucks, Railcars etc.) on the other end??

Suitable geared container vessels are already available, but they are relatively small compared to the mega ships that is used in this trade at the moment.

Geared Bulk Carriers can be used, but are they suitable for Containers?
Besides, they are slow for anything called an Express Service.

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Geared container ships usually have one hatch lid designated for out of gauge containers but with on deck stow only.

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Note that the extra cost off a US crew is absolutely trivial.

MARAD money should be used to buy a fleet of these ships for a US operator.

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What is the maximum gross weight of a 53 foot container? I can understand their suitability for cargos from China to the US but elsewhere I can’t see them catching on. A 20 foot container can weigh close to 30 tonnes max with a variety of cargos and it is relatively easy to get to 36 tonnes with a 40 footer in some trades.

53 footers are common in the US. So are 53’ trailers on the roads.

Many things: household goods, solar panels, insulation, plastic toys, and potatoe chips weigh next to nothing.

In USA maximum gross vehicle weight is 80,000 pounds or 36287 kilos.

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In some states it’s 100,000 lbs, at least on most roads.

There are also some exceptions for “sea containers.”

I think states limit 53’ trailers to certain roads and essential connections.

It’s also possible to get permits for oversized and overweight loads.

Yes 53’ containers may be common and suitable for the US end, but the supply chain is like a sausage, it has two ends.

How well suited are they for the transport network and port facilities in China, Europe and elsewhere in the world? AFAIK the land and sea based transport system is based on standard 20’ and 40’ ISO Containers.

There are some other sizes in existence and in use, but not every truck, trailer, mainline container ship, or STS crane are able to handle them.

A few purpose built ships serving a limited number of ports and a limited hinterland may be possible, but that require investment in facilities and agreement with authorities on both ends. Making it easier on one end of the chain MAY just mover the problem to the other end. (??)

PS> Are the STS cranes at LA/LB terminals set up to handle 53’ containers?
If not, ZMPC would probably be happy to develop and supply such cranes. :laughing:

A good article. I stopped thinking in pounds and feet about 50 years ago but my cellphone has a built in function to help my overtaxed brain. The length of a truck and trailer with a 53’ van would be challenging to drive on much of our roading . We have only about 200 miles of Freeway in the entire country of New Zealand. Many of our trucks are sourced from the US but the grades and bends limit the size and weights. On long haul runs “B” trains are used . The tractor unit is attached to the trailer as normal but the trailer has another turntable at the back where a second trailer is attached. It takes a high level of skill to reverse the units.

Not sure about all of the Long Beach cranes, I know that Pier A can and does handle 53’ containers.

53 footers have extra “corner castings” at the same 40 footer points, so any container crane or chassis set up for 40s should be able to handle them ok.

Most of the US road system can handle 53 footers.

I think most containers are stuffed and unstuffed away from the docks to avoid prohibitively expensive longshoremen.

I cannot say about foreign road systems.

I don’t know where containers get stuffed or unstuffed in foreign countries.

The few 53 footers I have seen were an extension to a 40 footer with two extra bits at each end so could be handled by any existing gantry. The trailer chassis would have to be different.
I can’t recall as to wether they had actual corner castings on the extensions or what was the stack weight limit was.

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53 footers should fit on and twist lock onto standard chasis ok. They are going to stick 6.5 feet further forward and further aft on the chasis.

It might take a longer truck tractor with a sliding 5th wheel (most of them do slide) set further back to accommodate cab clearance of the extra 6,5 feet in front.The overhang on back is not a physical issue, but it might be a legal issue with the lights and ICC bumper set forward.

I think the US probably has enough 53 footer suitable chasis. I don’t know about foreign countries.

Overhang is not an option when a container truck is equipped with cranes to load/unload in places with no facilities:

PS> One of the cranes can “walk” to handle 20’ containers

One of our largest exports are dairy products. Farms, and transport to large processing factories are highly automated.and 40’ containers are stuffed by machine 24/7.

Swing lifts were invented in New Zealand and loading bays for receiving inward or outward goods are largely a thing of the past. Containers are delivered to a yard and using a small folk hoist goods are handled by the consignee or exporter. One large big box store distribution centre uses redundant straddle carriers from the port to place the containers under an extensive roofed area. Conveyors then extend into the container as it is unloaded and barcodes direct the cartons to their final location in the warehouse .
Many countries have problems with infrastructure regarding containers. Tahiti has bridges that are not able to handle the weight and containers are unstuffed in the port area.

Apparently not obsolete here in Norway, at least in Ålesund.
I see container trucks with this type of “swing lifts” passing by regularly.
Many small importers/exporters dotted around in the district appears to rely upon this service.

PS> Some of the larger exporters have their own wharf facilities, where geared feeders call to pick up cargo for direct transport to Gothenburg, Hamburg, R’dam etc…
Mainly reefer containers with fish and seafood products, but also some of the larger furniture manufacturers etc. have such facilities.

When I was referring to a loading dock I was referring to a place where a truck or trailered container is reversed into a bay where the floor height is the same height as the bed of the trick or container to facilitate loading or unloading rather than as common here having the container on the ground as is possible using a swing lift.

In the US it’s pretty much all loading docks, and maybe a few ramps.

I’ve never seen a container chassis with cranes on it. Container chassis are very lightly built; they rely on the strength of the container.

There are some containers carried on roll off ramp trailers. They are winched on and off, but this is typically to deliver empties for use as storage sheds.

We don’t have the side loading trailers with “wings”that open like Ive seen in Japan.