Louisiana Starts Pilot With Two-Container Trucks at Ports

CRC Global Solutions trucks carry two 20-foot containers in tandem
A CRC Global Solutions truck carries two 20-foot containers in tandem. (CRC Global Solutions)

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Louisiana is working out details in a new experiment enabling trucks to carry two 20-foot containers in tandem to and from its ports to alleviate supply chain issues exacerbated by congestion and driver shortages.

The pilot program took effect June 17 when Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 477 as Act No. 551 enabling the Department of Transportation and Development to issue special permits through Aug. 1, 2026, allowing combination vehicles or tandem loads to haul divisible and nondivisible containers (with imports-exports) to and from any Louisiana port facility.

DOTD will designate federal and state roadway routes (excluding interstates) for vehicles not exceeding 140,000 pounds gross weight or 40,000 pounds per tandem axle spread and 60,000 pounds per tridem axle spread.



Also vehicles must be no longer than 83 feet and equipped with a dual-axle dolly and a dolly safety system with tilt sensors that provides feedback to the driver to ensure safe operations. DOTD’s truck permit office will issue the special biannual permits and designate travel routes.

Jessica Ragusa, Port of New Orleans communications manager, credited local trucking and logistics company CRC Global Solutions with initiating the legislation and use of its Smart Dolly System technology to alleviate congestion issues at the port from driver shortages.

She said the DOTD pilot program will “operate the new technology on a limited basis.”

Tilt Sensor Dolly PPT - Port NOLA by Transport Topics on Scribd

According to Shawn Wilson, DOTD secretary, the state has not issued any permits, spokesman Chris Welty stated. No travel routes have been identified yet since DOTD must develop rules for the project.

“In terms of this being a novel concept, we are not aware of any divisible loads at this weight being permitted by other states,” Welty noted.

“Overall, this is a win for the shipping industry and Louisiana,” said Sen. Gary Smith Jr. (D), who sponsored the legislation. He represents a greater New Orleans district including parishes along Lake Pontchartrain.

Overall, this is a win for the shipping industry and Louisiana.

Louisiana state Sen. Gary Smith Jr. (D)

Smith disagreed with criticism that trucks with tandem loads would bring extra weight to strain aging roads and bridges. He said the project’s sunset provision will help DOTD monitor the situation.

“The industry was aware of the negotiations with the DOTD on this aspect and believed it will prove itself in the long run,” he said. “The way this is set up with the distribution of weight over 10 axles and the reduction of a tractor makes this less weight on the road than two independent units consisting of a tractor and trailer. Then there is the reduction of emissions and stress of another independent vehicle in traffic, with a lower impact on the environment.”


Chief Commercial Officer Jenny Mains and CEO Ronnie Mains. (CRC Global Solutions)

Ronnie Mains, founder and CEO of CRC Global Solutions, championed the bill, telling legislators about companies “coming to us every day from all over the world” asking “how do we get more product in and out of the port in Louisiana.”

Mains spoke about sending goods made in Louisiana by barge to Houston and other Gulf Coast ports such as Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla.

“One driver, two containers would solve the problem overnight,” Mains contended. “I’m born and raised here, and I want to see the stuff stay in Louisiana and support the jobs here in Louisiana. With that said, there is a lot of pressure to move product out of Louisiana because of the shortage we have on drivers.”

He described the driver shortage as one of “stealing drivers from each other.” Although new drivers are being encouraged, Mains said “the reality is if you put someone in a truck driving school tomorrow” it takes two years before they can drive locally.



Chathan Mangat, chief strategist, told Transport Topics that CRC Global Solutions has a truck fleet and a third party operates a driving school on one of its properties.

“The issue for small and midsized carriers like us is that a driver must have two years of experience to put them on our insurance, so we’re very limited in who we can hire, unlike self-insured carriers,” he said, noting that all of Louisiana’s 44 ports are short on truck drivers.

Despite trying to boost hiring with bonuses, referral programs and pay increases, Jenny Mains, the company’s chief commercial officer, said they decided to solve the problem by having existing drivers haul more.

“But we can’t do it at the expense of safety,” she added, noting the technology has in-cabin, real-time feedback on container tilt that allows drivers to immediately respond to potential dangers.

“One thing I’ve learned is that technology is critical to maintaining a resilient supply chain, and we must innovate to keep up,” said Ronnie Mains, reflecting on two decades in business. “We can’t wait for other people to solve problems or tell us what to do. We have to come up with solutions ourselves.”

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