The crossborder movement of international containers along I-5 between the Ports of Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia is estimated to involve about 135 truck trips per day each way, which is about 15 percent of the total truck movement. Many of these movements take place on vehicles specially designed to handle fully loaded 40-foot containers within the weight distribution provisions of Bridge Formula B. Others occur on five-axle tractor- semitrailers, often overweight (36,000 pounds) from the United States and Washington State perspectives on the drive tandem axle. Some containers are moved across the border in double- trailer combinations, for example, with one 40-foot container plus one 20-foot container, or three 20-foot containers.
The option of using a six-axle tractor-semitrailer for container movements across the U.S. and Canadian border, within Washington, and to and from adjoining States could elicit a substantial response by industry. It would reduce the use of the existing, specially-designed equipment now used for these movements.
There is also some, probably very limited, movement of international containers between Alberta and Shelby, Montana along I-15 for transshipment on the BN under the special RTAC weight provisions of ISTEA for Montana. Since these movements now occur in Canadian configurations, at Canadian weights (96,000 pounds is already feasible), and Canadian axle spreads, little change would be expected.
There are also limited movements of international containers between northern Minnesota and Winnipeg, Manitoba and the BN mainline through North Dakota and Winnipeg. Providing for the effective use of six-axle tractor-semitrailers for these movements could encourage these exchanges and enhance competition between the BN and the Canadian railways for the business to and from Winnipeg.