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Budd Van Lines' trailer cuts days of work down to minutes

CCJ Innovators profiles carriers and fleets that have found innovative ways to overcome trucking’s challenges. If you know a carrier that has displayed innovation, contact CCJ Chief Editor Jason Cannon at or 800-633-5953.

Household goods moving is a labor intensive, high-touch operation, and if the shipper isn't moving directly and immediately into their new forever home, carefully unloading their entire life into a warehouse – and storing it for weeks or months at a time before re-loading it into a truck for final transport – is a delicate logistical dance.

Dave Budd founded Budd Van Lines in 1975 with five trucks and after nearly 40 years in the business kicked off a plan that would allow his company to move equal tonnage but faster, easier and safer. 

Budd Van Lines' Load It Once system has an almost intermodal look and feel.Budd Van Lines' Load It Once system has an almost intermodal look and feel.Budd found a partner in Kentucky Trailer willing to roll the dice in what at the time was a wild idea: essentially an articulated intermodal container-like system the company called Load It Once. 

The rig consists of two 28-foot pup-containers, each capable of holding upwards of 15,000 pounds, with one affixed to a straight truck and another on a trailer behind. The entire configuration is modeled after EPA guidelines for fuel efficiency and aerodynamics.

Of the fleet's 150 trucks, 34 are currently Load It Once equipped, and two more are planned by year-end (28 full tractor trailers and eight regional straight trucks).

"The real patent is in the fifth wheel, where the fifth wheel is behind the straight box as opposed to active tractor," said Budd Van Lines Senior Vice President Gary Grund. "It gets into areas that you can never get into with a tractor trailer, like a cul-de-sac, for example. The end box follows it around the cul-de-sac."