Commercial Carrier Journal
May 31, 2013
Tractors pulling two trailers of various lengths, known as long combination vehicles (LCVs), have been permitted in parts of Canada and in 20 U.S. states for decades. In 2004, the U.S. Senate used the highway reauthorization bill to freeze size and weight restrictions for commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, Canada has expanded LCV operations.
In late 2002, Bison Transport began to dabble with the idea of creating an LCV network across Canada’s Prairie Provinces. From its headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the network would span to Calgary and Edmonton in the West.
In previous years, the company had seen the benefits of using LCVs but hadn’t fully immersed itself in an LCV program because of lane density and equipment constraints.
“It wasn’t profitable to take loads to Western Canada,” says Rob Penner, Bison’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Most of what is produced or manufactured in Calgary is shipped out through a pipeline. “Rates into the region were not as strong as they needed to be to support the backhaul environment,” Penner says.
But by 2003, executives had decided to exploit LCVs in the Prairie Provinces to make sense of those lanes. They also saw an opportunity to create a network that would provide significant environmental benefits along with gains in efficiency, capacity and drivers’ quality of life. From that point on, every trailer the company purchased was spec’d for LCV operations.
Bison’s LCV fleet uses a Turnpike Double configuration consisting of two 53-foot trailers. All trailers are equipped with pintle hooks, airlines and electrical connectors at the rear. A dual-axle converter dolly couples the A-trailer to the B-trailer. To optimize weight, the company uses daycabs and small bunk tractors.