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To start an intermodal drayage load, truck drivers must first bobtail their power-only tractor to the rail yard and pick up the drayage container as well as the chassis that is mounting the container.

Prior to leaving the rail yard with the container on a chassis, a driver should do an inspection of each. The container and chassis are usually rail-owned, so any problems with either piece of equipment can be easily addressed and serviced in the rail yard.

With the pre-trip inspection, the carrier should ensure that the container will be deemed acceptable by the customer and that there is no damage to the chassis before taking them from the railyard. If there is no pre-trip inspection performed, any outstanding issues on a load in progress that occur due to a bad chassis or container will cause delays and other issues for drivers that are best to avoid.

Along with viewing the IANA Pre-Trip Inspection video, which goes over every detail of an inspection, drivers can use the tips below as supplemental information on what to look out for when checking out the container and chassis.

The Chassis Inspection

 

Before hooking the tractor up to the chassis, drivers should check the gladhands, which supply air from the tractor to the chassis. When taking a look at the gladhands, drivers need to verify that they’re locked, the seals are intact and that there’s no corrosion. Also take a look at the airlines that are connected to the gladhands to confirm there are no air leaks.

When hooking the tractor up to the chassis, it’s important to hear the pin lock as that means the chassis is properly secured. To be extra sure, a driver can pull the chassis to make sure it’s locked.

Drivers should do a walkaround to inspect the chassis as well. This includes checking out the chassis inspection sticker to make sure that it did not expire. If the inspection sticker is missing, drivers can check online to see the expiration date, but the chassis will also still need a new sticker. If it has expired, drivers can go to Roadability at the rail yard to get an inspection or they can request a chassis flip, which will give them an entirely new chassis.

The chassis tires should be inspected as well, and a good tip is to use a hammer to test out how much air is in the tire and make sure that none are deflating. Along with the air check, drivers should take a look at the tread for signs of peeling or other damage.

The Container Inspection

 

Most intermodal drayage containers need to be food grade, which means that they are sanitary enough to safely store and transport food products. If there’s any leftover debris, it’s going to need to be cleared out before. To the best of their ability, drivers should sweep out anything that was left in the container. If the container is too dirty, it’s a good idea to request a new one.

In order to be accepted at a warehouse, intermodal containers need to fully secure with no openings or other holes that could tamper with the freight. To check for holes or any openings, carriers can perform the light test, where they step inside the container and close the door to make sure that there are no openings bringing light inside.

Once a driver has inspected the chassis and container, they are free to leave the rail yard and head to their next stop of the trip!

For a visual accompaniment to this information, feel free to watch the video below that goes over tips for checking the intermodal container & chassis.

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