Containerisation of cargo for movement across continents by sea was a watershed moment in the worldwide logistics business. Today, hardly a fraction of the general cargo, leaving bulk materials like oil and grains aside, are shipped in break bulk or less than a container load. Once the containers are off loaded from the ships on to the harbour, the container trucks take over and the industry and business rely a lot on these trucks to haul the laden containers from the wharf to the yards or to the different inland destinations, and bring the empties back to be stuffed again with cargo and shipped out.
Some Makes and Models Good at this Haulage
Any logistics related activity is highly time bound. Removing the containers from the wharfs as soon as possible is critical to the shipping companies and reaching them to the destination would be a necessity for the customers and so on. Under such conditions, the wharf delivery trucks need to be reliable, capable of carrying the loads and be economical. In addition, the driver comfort factor has also become critical these days. This is because there is a general paucity of good drivers and the ones you wish to employ prefer those makes and models of container trucks which are good to drive on the roads, especially over long distances.
So the fleet operators give a lot of importance to all these factors while picking up the make and model of the container truck to bolster their fleet. There are heavy duty truck manufacturers of international repute who supply some of the best trucks for this line of duty, where one has to ply the trucks virtually throughout the whole 24 hours. That is how the ports and wharfs operate.
Saving on Costs Helps Pass on Benefits to the Customers
While every factor listed above is important for the fleet operators, the regular operating cost of the fleet of trucks that they run becomes very important for them. Here, two factors come into play. One is the weight that the truck carrying the containers can take and ply smoothly and deliver the cargo at the respective destinations. Even a small quantity of additional weight results in savings for the truck owner and in turn to the end customer; and of course the mileage the vehicle yields for every litre of diesel. So economy matters most.
In the case of the empty container trucks, this becomes even more pronounced if the chassis of the trucks are built such that they can handle double the number of empty containers than the laden ones in one trip. This means that only one vehicle is being used, instead of two and the cost savings are obvious. And the consolidated effect of causing less pollution by cutting down on the trips is a bonus contributed by the vehicle to the environment.
Another area is the need for frequent maintenance. Fleet operators, as already mentioned, work on very tight schedules and cannot afford breakdowns of their container trucks. The manufacturer has to make and supply these trucks to ensure they run smoothly and except the scheduled maintenance for servicing, no major trouble occurs.