New inspection procedures for intermodal containers

GREENBELT, MD – The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which sets the standards for roadside inspections across North America, has issued a new bulletin for securing intermodal containers on container chassis.

Canadian National Safety Code Standard 10 requires each lower corner on a container to be secured with an integral locking device, and for the front and rear of the container to be secured independently, CVSA notes.

“To meet these requirements, intermodal containers are most commonly secured to the container chassis with twist-locks or pin-locks meeting the definitions of integral locking device. [National Safety Code] Standard 10 defines an integral locking device as ‘a device that is designed and used to restrain an article of cargo by connecting and locking attachment points on the article to anchor points on the vehicle,'” the bulletin reads.

“There are numerous twist-lock and pin-lock designs. In general, pin-locks connect when the pin is inserted into the container’s casting and lock when the handle is held in position by a latch, gate or similar mechanism. Pin-locks are typically integrated with a bolster holding the lower front of the container. Similarly, twist-locks connect when the pin head is twisted within the container’s casting and lock when the handle is held in position by a latch, gate or similar mechanism. Twist-locks are found in all positions on a container chassis. Many integral locking devices rely on gravity or spring mechanisms to aid in holding the latch, gate or handle in position.”

The standard also requires containers to be restrained from moving forward, backward, vertically, or left or right.

There are some differences between the Canadian standard and its U.S. counterpart. Canada allows chain or wire rope to secure the corner of an intermodal container, but only to replace a defective integral locking device.

Twist-locks and pin-locks normally include a latch or gate mechanism that should be engaged during inspectionsm, CVSA adds. While some carriers attach plastic or wire tie-wraps to a latch or gate handle, that is not required under regulations on either side of the border.

“In all cases, when the latch, gate or similar mechanism that keeps the integral locking device from becoming unintentionally unfastened is broken, ineffective or missing, a temporary method can be used,” the bulletin reads. “This may consist of a tie-wrap. As noted, this type of temporary locking method is not required when the integral locking device is working as designed and intended by the manufacturer.”

Inspectors are being encouraged to download the latest information at “We want to ensure all inspectors are conducting roadside inspections using the most up-to-date version of each bulletin,” the organization notes.

Changes and updates were also introduced for identifying long-stroke brake chambers, inspecting Antilock Brake Systems, the procedures for inspecting hydraulic brakes and trailers, and inspecting vehicles with EPA07 or later engines.

A previous bulletin governing container chassis, as well as Express Brake International segmented brake linings, and Trailer Body Controller on a 2005 Super Duty Vehicle were repealed.



John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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