Dedicated Ports / Containers worth it?

Discussion in 'Intermodal Trucking Forum' started by VIDEODROME, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. VIDEODROME

    VIDEODROME Road Train Member

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Mobile, AL
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    I'm near Mobile, AL looking for local work with better home time. Quite a few of the local jobs seems to involve getting a TWIC card to access the ports. Getting the TWIC isn't what I'm concerned about, but some posts I've read have negative views on dealing with ports.

    The job I saw looks like a container shuttle going a way up I-65 to Evergreen, AL and back. I did deal with containers once only as a Yard Jockey and the equipment can be in rough shape or they're a pain to open the door latches.

    I wondered if port check points are slow or if the trailers off the boats are dropped randomly so you wind up trailer hunting?
     
  2. "semi" retired

    "semi" retired Road Train Member

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    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
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    I pulled containers in the 90's when there was REAL junk. Most of those old 40 footers are gone, and newer stuff has replaced them. Chassis' have even begun using tubeless tires, my biggest pet-peeve when I hauled them, was all tube type. Believe it or not, there is some order to that madness, and usually a location of your can is told, not to say, I didn't do laps looking for one sometimes. Unless you don't mind being zapped by x-rays everytime you check one out, I might do it again. Just not many other options for local work these days.
     
    x1Heavy Thanks this.
  3. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    Mar 5, 2016
    White County, Arkansas
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    Ive done container work for a few months and that was a few months way too many. Port East in Baltimore would dispatch me to Norfolk with a box for sunrise to be put on the ship. In order to be there in a timely manner I had to leave after midnight in order to get past the rush hours in three seperate cities before they gridlocked everything.

    Once there and rid of my 40 foot box or whatever I then sit there all day calling Baltimore by payphone every hour on the hour. Load yet? load yet? load yet? all the way until about 6 when nothing back except a chassis by itself. Getting one out of Norfolk is another hour. You already were paid 40 something dollars to Norfolk sit all day for free and a 20 dollar chassis back to baltmore by midnight.

    Guess what time you have to leave with another norfolk box? Don't bother commuting home, take a nap in the car and back in and on the road with the next load in 3 hours. Same routine as before.

    This time by day three or four you face a new enemy. Sleep or none at all. So I used caffinee pills. First a few daily, then a whole box a day, then two boxes just to get home (80 pills, each = 2 cups of coffee) soon after the 5th day of that I fell asleep putting about a dozen construction crew lives at risk, in particular a group of 4 at the bottom of the ramp eyes were open but the mind and body was absolute dream sleep. What saved them was they kept waving flags, she would buck out of gear after lugging too low and I would be shaken awake to shift and back to sleep again on the alternate route with DC coming up through Quantico.

    That night a state bear nailed me at 100+ blowing a major light near my home. He knew on sight that I was not only asleep but sick as well. He got me home.

    I quit very soon after when my income was negative in terms of combined very little work done, way excessive waiting and unsafe trucking. Also in those days inspections were usually a sham and you bomb out a tire or both tires on that same wheel back there, to sit hours more waiting on road service. You were too heavy anyway to move. That was the next problem constant gross weights into the 130's thats 130,000 pounds with a short day cab mack from the 60's 250 horse engine and 40 foot or 20 foot container (Ball bearings from Richmond to Caterpiller York or Europe) So excessive tickets were common.

    I once weighed a triaxle 20 footer because it was behaving very badly at the Doswell truckstop across from the fun park there. It came out to 80000 pounds on the three axles back there. And never mind the tractor. Way way way way too high in numbers. Doswell fuel desk person warned me not to weigh there again because it's beyond what they can take on their scale. (Indie scale, non-cat)

    I can go on and on, there were a few moments later in life when I tried container work again for a joppa based outfit into Port of Philly and Chester if not going to Baltimore. This one was more profitable to me, but the company went out of business one day with no notice to us whatsoever. We did manage to put me dedicated to GM glass from Lexington Ky to GM Baltimore assembly downtown in the dead of winter which was my winter school for trucking. I learned to disregard any and all weather conditions in those mountains. It did not matter what weather or how deep because it was winter and that glass goes through. Safety was pretty irrevelant because we were one of very few still moving anyway.

    So ultimtaely a unprofitable waste of time to do container work as a company driver. Today's post 9-11 way of doing that is even less attractive to me. Xrays in particular. Forget it. I already developed one cataract, waiting on the other to develop and ex has two cataracts to replace by surgery in 2020 as soon they get big enough to be chopped out. That means she needs to be blind first from that is where I come in. If I was not alive, as a vet she is alone in life. So Im here when that time comes. We believe medical radiation was the source of mine and hers from cancer.

    Anyway thats container as far as I am concerned. I would not have any problem never dealing with them again. There is no money in it and constant dealing with inspections that do nothing until something does break and usually does costing even more time. (Part of that is the insisting of the ports to slap cheap recaps on chassis and that created a lifelong deep hatred for anything recap on truck tires. I cannot tolerate them period.) I did not do that work very long. Less than a year total. But it defined me for most of my future trucking yet to come with strong thoughts and principles.

    And that is the last thought I leave you with. The company shop in Port East was never open at night. So whatever broken down tractor you got issued half the stuff does not work and other things leak, windows broken out and so on. You dressed for the weather outside be it winter or spring etc. I remember a father and son in Virginia on 95 one day near Doswell in the summer. They blew out three tires. boom boom boom. Bombs. Then they sit in 100 degree weather all day while I go to norfolk, sit and finally come back through where they were all day roasted red through and through from that hot sun. Motels cost more than what they would make that day anyway so they stayed with the truck waiting on road service.

    Thats quite enough of that. I don't understand how a company can be so hard faced towards the problems with equiptment that should be OOS until replaced, not fixed. Replaced. And paid so little in those days. And one thing was clear if you were new, fresh out of school with zero experience, you were given loads and trucks that were not up to par or had problems no one else will deal with. So if you did not like it or tried to turn in a broken truck you don't have a job, there are 40 more newbies waiting on their applications at the door to replace you in those days.
     
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