Con-way Freight, the less-than-truckload subsidiary of Con-way Inc., announced the nationwide deployment of SafeStack, its load management and cargo protection system installed across its fleet of 16,800 freight trailers in North America. The deployment represents the culmination of a strategic nine-month multimillion-dollar investment in the adjustable decking and securing system designed to enables LTL shipments to be handled more efficiently, travel more securely and gain increased protection against damage.
For customers, better handling processes and reduced in-transit damage improve the service experience as more shipments are delivered on time, intact and in exception-free condition, says Greg Lehmkuhl, executive vice president of operations. “This new system improves how we handle and load freight, brace shipments in the trailer and secure them to prevent shifting in-transit – one of the most common causes of cargo damage,” Lehmkuhl says. “Combining these new tools with the experience and superior freight handling skills of our work force is the formula for delivering consistently excellent service.”
Con-way Freight retrofitted its existing fleet of 16,800 28-foot “pup” trailers with the SafeStack system, and is installing the equipment in 1,300 new trailers scheduled for delivery this year. The units have been deployed throughout the company’s network of 290 service centers. The system was purchased from Ancra International, a provider of cargo handling, loading and restraint systems for aircraft cargo, the military and transportation. The company says it has applied its experience and expertise in aircraft cargo systems to the manufacture of highly-engineered freight loading, decking and restraint systems designed exclusively for the rigors of trucking operations.
The SafeStack system utilizes heavy-duty aluminum tracks that are attached to supporting vertical posts along the trailer walls. Height-adjustable horizontal shoring beams clamp into the vertical tracks and can be moved up and down in one-inch increments, creating multiple decking platforms set at precise levels for palletized freight of various shapes and sizes. The system also features custom-designed anchors and heavy-duty straps that brace and tie down shipments to prevent movement in transit and protect shipments against damage.
Running parallel with system installation was an extensive education and hands-on training program for Con-way Freight drivers and freight operations personnel nationwide. The company says that all freight handling employees were trained in best practices and proper use of the tools and then certified – more than 15,000 employees to date. In addition, feedback from Con-way’s drivers on the design of SafeStack’s components led to a number of improvements that increased the system’s utility and usability.