Long-hauling is usually done with vans, reefers and flatbeds. But a little-noticed segment of trucking uses dump trailers that carry a wide variety of commodities. And some of the trailers are special.
“We’ve been buying and spec’ing dump trailers for many years,” says Dan Titus, president of Page Trucking, founded in 1977 in upstate New York by his father, Keith, and now run by Dan and his sister, Piper. “We’ve refined that spec into the trailer we have today. These are a multi-purpose trailer. We can haul every bulk commodity you can put in a bulk vessel, from big boulders to slag to fine powder and other small materials.”
Palletized cargo is also part of the mix, and the 102.3-inch width accommodates side-by-side positioning of pallets. Rear underride guards on the trailers allow bumping against docks, and forklifts come aboard with bagged fertilizer and such. Also hauled are tied-down items such as finished metal plates and coils, metal ingots, and scrap metal. Trailers have extra-strong floors to hold up under forklift traffic, and barn-door tailgates hinge at the right side to allow movement in and out. Tailgates are also hinged at the top so trailers can dump bulk commodities in the traditional manner.
“We long haul, we short haul. We have on-site work where we dump the trailer 10 or 12 times a day, staying on the same work site. And we haul coast-to-coast and into Canada, up into British Columbia,” Titus says. “We say we can haul every bulk commodity anywhere in the continent, and sometimes that’s put to a test.”
The multi-purpose dump trailers are typically 39 feet long. The East trailers have Genesis welded-smooth sides that are 5 feet tall. Page buys 40-60 new trailers a year.
All but 50 of the fleet’s 350 tractors are owner-operated.
“Trailer accessories are color-specific to the owner-operator tractor that pulls it,” Titus says. “We have red, yellow, blue, all different colors; the only uniformity is the logo. These guys take care of the equipment, and making it color-specific gives them a sense of ownership. They represent us and we want them to look good. It really pays off for us.”
Corrosion-resistant aluminum construction and good care add up to long life. Titus says the trailers will last at least 20 years with the fleet, then are sold into “second lives” with farmers, feed dealers and the like. The aluminum is “infinitely recyclable,” so it’s conceivable that a modern Page trailer could carry a load of scrap aluminum that was once an old Page trailer.