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ESI - Intermodal Operations
  • Restricted Commodities
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Maximum Shipment Weight
  • Shipper's Guide to ISCTA
  • ESI Operation Contacts
Restricted Commodities
Restricted commodities require special arrangements with the rails and need to be disclosed in the billing instructions supplied to ESI.  The following is a list of the most common:
  - Air-flight training aids
  - Animals or carcasses
  - Asphalt
  - Bulk bakery product waste
  - Bulk commodities
  - Carbon blacks
  - Christmas trees
  - Cigarettes
  - Class 8 liquids
  - Copra
  - Creosote
  - Dimensional high/wide load
  - Dump carts
  - Explosives
  - Fish scrap
  - Flammable liquids
  - Fresh fruits and vegetables
  - Hazardous materials
    - Hides, pelts, skins
  - Household goods
  - Military communications
  - Missiles and rockets
  - Motor vehicles
  - Polychlorinated biphenyl
  - Printed materials
  - Property of extraordinary value
  - Railway wheels
  - Rolled paper
  - Scrap batteries
  - Scrap metals
  - Shellfish
  - U.S. Mail
  - Vanadic Acid
  - Vanadium ore
  - Vehicle components
  - Waste materials
Hazardous Material Requirements
At present the rails are continuing to accept fax billing on Hazardous loads. As long as this procedure is in place, the following information on hazardous declarations will be required...
  • All the documents must be clear,legible, and accurate.  If the copy provided is a certified copy from the actual shipper it also must be signed by a member of their organization.
  • A two hour processing time is required by the rails for billing to be in place.
  • Items to be included on a hazardous declaration will be the container number(s) and the certified weight of each commodity if their is more than one. For each commodity that is hazardous, a complete description as defined in the 49cfr will be required.
  • A chemtrec or other emergency response phone number is also required.
  • All hazardous shipments must be blocked/braced in accordance with AAR regulations.
Maximum Shipment Weight
(in thousands of pounds)
Size Equipment Type Rail Gross  
20FT Standard Chassis 29,500  
20FT 2FT Slider Chassis 37,500  
20FT 4FT Slider Chassis 39,500  
20FT Tri-axle Chassis 47,000  
40FT Standard Chassis 44,000  
40FT Expandable Chassis 46,000  
  • Assumes 20' container tare weight of 5,500 lbs., 40' container tare weight of 9,000 lbs.
  • Assumes 20' chassis tare weight of 6,500 lbs., 40' chassis tare weight of 7,000 lbs.
  • Gross vehicle weight must not exceed 80,000 lbs.
  • Allowable weight subject to axle weight compliance with bridge laws.
  • Maximum rail weights allowable on certain defined streets and highways only. Overweight permits may be required.
Shipper's Guide to ISCTA
The Intermodal Safe Container Transportation Amendment Act (ISCTA) became effective April 9, 1997. The purpose of The Act is to reduce the volume of overweight intermodal shipments on U.S. highways. The Act requires a weight certification for any domestic or international intermodal shipment in excess of 29,000 lbs. The certification must be provided by the shipper and the information transferred to all carriers in the intermodal service chain. The information can be included in the shipping documents now in use by Express System Intermodal. No new document is required.
The five required elements of information on the certification are:
  • The actual cargo weight of the lading, including pallets, dunnage, and packing materials. It does not include container or trailer weight.
  • A reasonable description of the goods. FAK is acceptable until January 1, 2001, except for northern border shipments. Both U.S. and Canadian Customs require an actual description.
  • The identity of the certifying party. This is not an individual's name, but the name of the shipper.
  • The certification date or the date of transfer of certification information.
  • The complete container or trailer number.
The Act defines an intermodal shipment as any container or trailer which moves in two or more modes of transportation, and moves on U.S. public roads. This extends to Federal, State, local, Indian tribe, and U.S. territorial roads. The Act requires the shipper to provide a written projected gross cargo weight prior to shipping, to the first carrier if the first carrier is a motor carrier. The final certified weight must be provided, in writing or electronically, prior to or at the time of tender of the shipment to the first motor carrier. Certification does not have to accompany the shipment.
ESI will collect the shipping document with the weight certification, and distribute the certification to all carriers in the chain. We must receive the certification prior to movement of the shipment. The most effective way to do this is to fax your shipping document to the ESI Customer Service Center. Unless otherwise directed, we will make certain assumptions: the shipper is the certifying party; the shipment date is the certifying date; the weight and description of goods are accurate. The shipping document must display the container or trailer number.
Please note that there are many details of The Act which go beyond the scope of this advisory. We invite you to call with your questions and concerns. Please contact our Operations Manager at (630) 645-9837.
ESI Operation Contacts
Operation Main Line: (630) 645-9860
Name Title Direct Line Email Address
 Robert Richmond  Manager Operations and Equipment  (630) 645-9831
 Ivone Mayen  Asst. Manager Operations and Equipment  (630) 645-9835
 Grace Kornafel  Customer Service  (630) 645-9833
 Rick Miner  Customer Service  (630) 645-9832