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Making the switch

With trailers often purchased to suit a specific contract or built for a specific purpose, flexibility can sometimes be limited. If the freight task drastically changes, the trailer may no longer be suitable to the operator’s needs. That’s where SCF’s Skel and container combinations come into play.

Rather than being locked into a specific trailer type, this solution offers the flexibility to switch the type or size of container to suit different freight tasks. Effectively, the Skel and container combination becomes an interchangeable trailer. There is a vast array of container options available including curtain siders, end or side door opening containers with optional mezzanine decks, refrigerated containers, pneumatic and bulk liquid tanks and more.

Transport operators can also repurpose their Skels during peak and off-peak times for increased fleet utilisation depending on their customer’s freight needs. Idle or low utilised Skels can easily be converted into trailers with the addition of a container, allowing operators to make the most of existing capital.

Both Skels and various container types can be hired or purchased from SCF as freight requirements change. Intermodal containers remove the need to be locked into a specific trailer type so if customers, volumes or contracts change, the fleet can change with it. SCF’s containers can be used as a complete replacement to a standard trailer fleet or as required.

According to SCF, its Skel and container combinations provide an equivalent to many trailer types. As they are so flexible, they can create efficiencies and improve costs throughout a supply chain.

“The ability to have one Skel and then multiple different types of containers gives operators a great deal of flexibility,” says Nick Schwartz, General Manager – Intermodal at SCF. “As well as offering great flexibility, our Skel and container combinations also provide a road to rail option for transport operators who are considering using rail in the future. You can easily change from one mode to the other. This is becoming increasingly important with the Inland Rail project that’s currently under construction. There is also significant savings available on the current east to west line and other interstate rail routes. The combination gives operators the flexibility to future-proof their fleets and take advantage of rail down the track if they want to.”

With over 25 years of expertise in designing, building and hiring containers through its national depot network, SCF is one of Australia’s largest container suppliers to the Intermodal transport industry. Intermodal containers allow freight to be transported via road, rail or sea; and are available for purchase or hire right across Australia.
SCF has over 11,500 containers in its fleet, offering its expertise and versatility to some of Australia’s largest transport and logistics companies.

Nick says that the ability to hire Skels and containers from SCF provides further versatility. “It means customers are not needing to invest huge amounts of capital to get the equipment they need into their fleet. They can hire equipment short or long term and can align the hire contract term with their customer contract. For example, if they need a trailer for a 12-month contract, they can hire the Skel and container combination for 12 months and then they’re not stuck with the equipment afterwards. Also, if the freight profile or handling operation changes, they can return the equipment and swap it for a different type of container. Our experience and expertise allows us to supply existing equipment types or engineer a container to suit a customer’s specific freight task.”

Being an Australian business, SCF understands the unique requirements of local transport operators and road and rail infrastructure. Its Intermodal containers cater for Australian Chep pallets with all units built two-pallets wide.

“Our products are designed for Australian conditions,” Nick says. “Structurally, they are built to withstand the Australian environment and comply with the safe loading and unloading needs of Australian transport operators.”

SCF’s Intermodal containers can also offer cost savings for transport from wharfs. Shipping line containers can incur high demurrage costs and put pressure on schedules to turn equipment around quickly. With SCF’s solution, once an imported container arrives by sea, it can be taken away and the goods transferred into an Intermodal shipping container which has extra width and height capacities when compared to a standard shipping container. Further savings can be achieved by using two pallet wide Intermodal containers through consolidating loads into higher capacity containers.

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