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Research Reports

Overweight Container Study

Description: This summary report describes a study that defines the overweight container problem within Washington State and the national level. The study reviews various approaches to the problem as well as potential solutions. Intermodal containers can meet internationally agreed-upon weight limitations (International Standards Organization (ISO)) and industry specifications for ships, cranes, railcars, or barges; however, when they are placed on a truck, they may violate the federal weight limits. Export containers pose a more serious problem than do import containers. About 24% of export containers moving through Washington's seaports, and 12% of import containers exceed maximum weight limits. The study concludes that resolution of the problem would require a uniform federal policy at the national level. The availability of accurate container weight information throughout any given journey is critical. Such information can be used by ports or the Electronic Interchange System to identify violators. Most overweight containers can meet legal requirements with the use of a special chassis. Encouragement of the use of such equipment should be a policy priority. Special corridors that are not subject to weighing requirements in the vicinity of ports should eliminate some of the problem, particularly for rail containers. Any enforcement measures should, however, consider the impact on the efficiency of the transport system, the competitiveness of the state's seaports, and the impact on the trade.

  • Date Published: October, 1992
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 275.1
  • Last Modified: June 10, 2007
  • Author: Yehuda Hayuth.
  • Originator: Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
  • # of Pages: 64 p., 4,943 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Containers, Containerization, Chassis, Load limits, Oversize loads, Overweight loads, Policy, Roads, Seaports, Standards, Trucks, Wear, Weight.
  • Keywords: Overweight containers, import/export data, container weight information system, container weight compliance, Washington (State)
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This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008