Walmart deploys 60-ft. multi-temp trailer in Ontario

Walmart is running a custom-designed 60-ft. multi-temperature trailer – the first of its kind in North America – on a route between Mississauga and Windsor, Ont.

The company initiated a pilot program with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in 2012, paving the way for the use of the longer trailers across Ontario. It allows the fleet to accommodate four additional pallets compared to a traditional 53-ft. trailer, and is currently hauling perishable goods requiring different temperatures.

Walmart's 60-ft.  trailer
(Photo: Walmart Canada)

“Introducing this 60-ft., custom-built, multi-temperature refrigerated trailer into our fleet is the latest example of how Walmart Canada is continually innovating within the supply chain and pushing boundaries in the industry,” Patricio Dallan, senior vice-president – supply chain, Walmart Canada, said in an announcement. “When Walmart makes a change, it has a ripple effect. In this case, we’re introducing a new custom solution to the Canadian market that helps to reduce our total number of trips and emissions. We’re incredibly proud of this milestone.”

The trailer makes a stop in Woodstock, Ont., and Walmart says certain stops that could not previously be paired together now can be, thanks to the additional capacity. The goal is to make fewer trips and to reduce the number of trucks required.

Walmart worked closely with Utility Trailer on the custom design. Brian Sookhai, senior manager – transportation innovation and planning with Walmart, told the company is confident the trailer refrigeration unit (TRU) can handle the additional capacity.

“Cold chain compliance is a top priority for us when using a refrigerated trailer, so specifications were focused on ensuring this was maintained with confidence in all use cases,” he said.

Specific training is provided to drivers who are pulling the longer trailers, and Sookhai noted Walmart has been operating them for eight years in some form. It now plans to roll out more of the extended trailers to further slash CO2 emissions.

“Our focus is to continue to facilitate an environment where regeneration and efficiency are at the core of our transportation and supply chain operations,” Sookhai said. “We continue to expand our 60-ft. ambient trailer usage where it’s a good fit within our network and hope to further deploy our new perishable trailer in the same way.”

Walmart fleet associates
Walmart Canada fleet associates Malkeet Singh and Christopher Dowds. (Photo: Walmart Canada)

While the current trailer is being pulled by a diesel-powered Freightliner Cascadia, Walmart understands further emissions reductions could be achieved by converting to an alternative-fueled tractor.

“Walmart Canada has plans to power our fleet using 100% alternative power by 2028,” Sookhai acknowledged. “While this trailer is currently based on a standard diesel tractor without any modifications, we designed it with the foresight that it will be pulled by an alternatively-powered tractor in the future.”

While Walmart has pioneered the use of 60-ft. trailers in Ontario, the company is hopeful other fleets follow suit – especially now that the design work has been done by Walmart and Utility.

“Moving more products with fewer trucks allows us to reduce emissions and increase efficiency in our supply chain,” said Sookhai. “We know that creating this solution alongside Utility will likely inspire others to do the same and we see that as hugely positive for the industry.”