First time at the rail? Your guide to intermodal trucking
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When it comes to intermodal rail transportation, the first and last mile of the journey needs a truck driver to bring freight to and from the rail yard.
If you’ve never done intermodal trucking before, it can seem complicated. For one, there are a few more steps involved with hauling intermodal loads, such as ingating and outgating a container from the rail. Here are a few tips to help streamline the process at the railyard, so you can run your first load smoothly and be set for success for many more intermodal loads down the line with intermodal load apps like DrayNow.
First off, note the appointment time in the DrayNow app. The appointment time listed always refers to the time you should arrive at the shipper or consignee, NOT the time to be at the rail. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to head over to the rail in case you need to register, which we’ll talk about next.
The extra buffer of time is advised if you’ve never been to a specific railyard at all, or if it’s been years since you’ve been to a rail. Registering at the rail is essential for you to outgate your first load. Whether it’s CSX, BNSF, UP, etc., individual rails require you to register with them. The driver assist window at each railyard can help you in this process.
Once you’ve confirmed registration, your next step is to find the container. For deliveries, drayage containers are loaded and should be already mounted on the chassis. Make sure you double check the container number against what is listed in the app.
For pickups, you will need to find an empty drayage container in good order, meaning one that is clean inside, odor-free, and without holes or tears. Make sure to do a thorough inspection and a light test before leaving the rail to avoid rejection at the shipper. Note the reservation number in the app as well. The most common start with “EH53G” for EMHU boxes and “UM53G” for UMXU boxes. Other yards may have numbers in a different format; be sure to check the details in the app for the appropriate container type.
When you’re ready to outgate a delivery, make sure to note the release number in the app, as that is needed at the kiosk for you to exit and be on your way. For pickups, again, make sure the reservation number matches the type of container you’re assigned to.
Keeping these tips in mind, the first (or next) time you enter the railyard for an intermodal trucking trip, you should have a much better experience going through all of these steps.
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