Trailer Bridge Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., has been awarded a U.S. patent for its Vehicle Transportation Module.

The VTM container is a module for receiving motorized vehicles for transportation that interchanges easily between transport modes without the necessity of re-handling the vehicles. The VTM containers are designed for damage-free vehicle transport and offer multi-modal capability, including truck, rail, and water. They are also available in different heights to accommodate regular passenger vehicles as well as larger trucks and sport utility vehicles.
Combining the best features of roll-on, roll-off and lift-on, lift-off, the VTM container has been successfully used in transporting more than 20,000 vehicles between U.S. mainland ports and Puerto Rico. Trailer Bridge believes the range of potential uses for the VTM container extends beyond the ocean transportation sector and will continue to explore various further applications.
The VTM(R) container was developed in conjunction with the construction of five new Triplestack Box Carrier vessels that began entering service in 1998. This patent includes 26 specifically enumerated claims and will remain in force for up to 20 years after its filing date.
The inventors are Ralph W. Heim, J. Edward Morley and P.W. Shahani. Heim is president and chief operating officer of Trailer Bridge and Morley is vice president of operations. Shahani is a consulting engineer.
Trailer Bridge provides integrated trucking and marine freight service to and from all points in the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico, using its own trucks, drivers, trailers, containers and U.S. flag vessels to link the mainland with Puerto Rico via marine facilities in Jacksonville and San Juan.