Rail and intermodal equipment and supplies offer you the flexibility to move large shipments of goods long distances by land, sea or air. They're also a big investment and have the potential for being a major logistical headache, so taking the time to plan your purchases and make sure they're properly cared for and monitored makes good business sense.
Making the most of rail and intermodal equipment and supplies is not a one-person job. You'll need support and knowledge from your maintenance department, your number crunchers, plus the legal and logistics departments -- or suitable consultants and advisers -- in order to:
1. Test the waters -- or meet your needs in the most efficient way -- with a rental.
2. Keep careful track of regulations that apply to your rail products.
3. Make sure you know where your rail and intermodal equipment and supplies are at all times.
Determine your business' capabilities and needs by renting railroad products before you buyWhether you're testing the waters before a major investment in railroad gear and other intermodal equipment or just need to handle a one-time cross-country shipment, sometimes renting makes perfect sense. Renting first, instead of buying right away, also gives you the perfect opportunity to familiarize your employees and managers with how intermodal equipment functions, is handled, operated and maintained -- all with little commitment, financial or otherwise, on your part.
Stay current on regulations that apply to your fleet of intermodal or rail equipmentIntermodal and other rail products are carefully regulated for standards of safety, maintenance and inspection. Even though you probably have a dedicated maintenance department or a contractor that is responsible for the upkeep, you should still maintain close oversight over whether the relevant regulations and standards are being upheld.
Federal Register's online search function to stay current on the latest laws and proposals that relate to safety regulation on intermodal equipment.
Keep track of rail and intermodal equipment and supplies with remote monitoring systemsIntermodal rail equipment, chassis and containers are all hefty business investments. They're also attractive shipping options for smugglers, drug runners and others who might want to take advantage of long range shipments that undergo relatively little handling. These are good reasons for keeping careful track of your assets with remote tracking/mapping units that are generally quite petite (less than a foot in dimension) compared to the units they're installed in.
- Many of the companies that rent or lease intermodal or railway equipment may also have used railroad equipment available for purchase. You can use the rental or lease period to help evaluate whether it would be worthwhile to have the equipment on hand permanently, then score a good deal on used equipment that's still safe and effective.