How to start hauling 1st container load drayage

Discussion in 'Intermodal Trucking Forum' started by nahdix, Jan 31, 2024.

  1. nahdix

    nahdix Bobtail Member

    Jan 31, 2024

    I have my own authority for more than 3 years doing dry van as pure owner operator, and recently decided to do drayage in detroit, MI even though I dont know much about drayage operation. I asked several drivers that do drayage and I was tempted honestly. Therefore I applied and now I have active UIIA and I have on board several shipping lines while others are still pending. However, I feel stuck, as it seems i am 90% there but I dont have anyone who can guide me regarding first few loads. For example, if we agree on a quote with a client/broker willing to give me a load, where do i start with chassis? Do I go to the rail yard and book a chassis ahead of time. if so how do i do that? Do I get chassis from shipping line or broker ? Is there or specific places/companies that I can book a chassis per day basis? Some say, dont get your own chassis in the beginning as it could be pointless.

    I have read online with regards to quotation as it involves not only line haul rate but also FSC, pre pull, chassis split, detention, congestation fee etc. But no one mentions my current problem scenario on how to get the tires rolling for the first load especially for someone like me who just has only power only. It might be so easy that nobody even bothers to mention it and I am just over worried or i dont know what is wrong with me, I need help here.

    And yes, I cannot register with loadmatch because they do not currently accept any new motor carriers in their load board. I am not worried much about it, I am willing to make cold calls to the brokers that I can search/reach. Again, I am just worried about where I can get and book the chassis, how does it work from start to finish and basically the backend dispatch work that I can feel comfortable booking a load. please help
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2024
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  3. Bean Jr.

    Bean Jr. Road Train Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I don't know about Michigan, but Chicago area, most containers are already on wheels. When they're not, the chassis still is part of the pickup, ie, the chassis pool is at the rail yard, and your booking would include it.
  4. 201

    201 Road Train Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    I leased my tractor to a company in Green Bay, power only, and they dealt with Hub Group, that specializes in intermodal. While I did that in the late 80s, out of Chicago, I did okay, and intermodal has come a long ways. With driver shortages and the inevitable pileups, intermodal is clearly the thing of the future. If I was to do it again, I'd get my own spread axle aluminum chassis, and just do live lifts and pickups. The chassis they provide are all pool chassis, some still with tube tires , no brakes, and no sliders. Be advised, shippers tend to "load the wagon, it's just going on the rail",,,and the container is already heavy, be able to scale 48,000, hence the spread axle. Most loads were regional, say 4-500 miles, and many times, I returned the box empty. That may have changed. I knew guys that just did crosstown moves and made a killing. Hope you have a big motor, those cans pull hard. There are other shippers, but this Hub seemed like the best one.
    Owner Operators | Supply Chain Logistics | Hub Group
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2024
    Speed_Drums and TexasKGB Thank this.
  5. Diesel Dave

    Diesel Dave Last Few of the OUTLAWS

    Jan 20, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca.
    When I did Cans and pigs back in the early 80’s, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. The settlements sucked, along with the OOS equipment and long waiting lines. Only reason I lasted a couple of years, the settlement was there every week, so I could pay my truck off. Those years were my learning days. I learned a lot from going to company driver to O/O. I have absolutely no idea how the intermodal industry runs today here in SoCal. But I do see mostly all immigrants behind the wheel hauling them.
    Speed_Drums and 201 Thank this.
  6. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    I retired from a company that had an intermodal side in addition to LTL/warehousing.

    When the steamship lines stopped providing 'free' chassis we started to lease our own, we had over 700 by the time I retired.

    Long term [then] we got them around $5.00 a day vrs the port's $12.00 a day plus we charged the customer $25.00 a day.

    Some were more to lease but they were the most adaptable, able to haul a loaded 20, or loaded 40 and /or 45, as well as, two MT 20's with spread axles, onboard tire air systems, LED lights and radial tires; kinda a swiss army knife of chassis.

    Being in the UIIA and having steamship/rail terminals on your 'provider list' is only 1/2 the battle.

    You need a customer -or- two.

    We had a solid group of customers mostly close to our warehouse and serviced them to the nth degree, so much that a new warehouse for a major on-line retailer [NOT Amazon] tossed a poorly performing carrier and called our company on the reccomendation of their neighboring warehouses.

    We asked a higher rate and provided excellent service and they were happy.

    You need to find a customer -or- two.
    Speed_Drums, 201 and Bean Jr. Thank this.
  7. 7seriestv

    7seriestv Light Load Member

    Jan 28, 2016
    Check out this channel, most questions you have are answered on this channel
  8. 386chris

    386chris Bobtail Member

    May 11, 2023
    San Fernando Valley
    Not sure if it’s different where you are but in SoCal there’s so many extra bs you have to purchase (insurances, scac code, UIIA Cert.) that realistically the best option is to get cans from Knight, JBHunt, etc. .
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