March 31, 2009 10:55 AM, EDT

Vanguard Parent to Market U.S. Trailer, Create National Master Dealer Network

By Frederick Kiel, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the March 30 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — China International Marine Containers introduced the first trailer it is marketing in the United States under its own name, a refrigerated unit it said contains a proprietary insulation system that will eliminate the 3% to 7% in condensation weight that typical reefers build up in a year.

David Li, president of CIMC USA, also announced the company would form a common CIMC Master Dealers network in the United States to “take advantage of the synergy” of its separate dry van, reefer, flatbed and intermodal container manufacturing arms.

CIMC, the parent of Vanguard National Trailer Corp., says it is the largest container and vehicle manufacturer, with 60,000 employees. It showed the new CIMC R8000 reefer at the Mid-America Trucking Show here on March 20.

CIMC presented its new reefer jointly with Direct Chassis & Equipment Co., Kingwood, Texas, in which CIMC has a majority interest.

John Nelson, Direct Chassis president, said the CIMC R8000 model would be available in June.

“This reefer will be unique in the United States because CIMC added its patented process to use foam insulation to seal in the walls, ceiling and floor, which avoids the formation of hot or cold spots,” Buzz Hagen, chief operating officer of Direct Chassis, told Transport Topics in a separate interview.

The reefer will be built initially at a new 600,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Qingdao, China, adjacent to the CIMC refrigerated container plant that has the capability to manufacture more than 70,000 units a year, CIMC said.

Beginning in October, CIMC will ship the already insulated sidewalls, floors, roofs and front and rear structures of the reefers to the United States, where they will be assembled. The cooling unit, landing gear and suspension will be U.S.-made.

“The CIMC process makes the thermal efficiency more uniform throughout the trailer,” Hagen said. “Historically, refrigerated trailers absorb moisture from those hot or cold spots, which adds 3% to 7% in condensation to the annual basis weight of each reefer.”

The R8000 series shown at MATS was 53 feet long, with about 102 inches in exterior width, 98 inches in interior width and 104 inches in height.

Meanwhile, the company said its “master dealers” would become the “flagship” group, representing all CIMC equipment in the United States, including the new CIMC reefer, dry freight vans by Vanguard, flatbeds and container chassis by Direct Chassis and intermodal containers by CIMC.

“Vanguard already has a valuable chain of dealers, as well as a national network of parts and service dealers, that will form the basis of the new chain,” Hagen said, noting the process will create more jobs in the United States.

“Unlike other Chinese imports that are 100% built in China, most of CIMC’s products will have major U.S. components, and . . . will also be assembled in the United States,” Hagen said.