Trailer Bridge, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRBR) announced that it has been notified by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the Company has received a notice of allowance for its patent application related to the process of loading and unloading containers on its Triplestack Box Carrier™ vessels. Trailer Bridge as assignee had initially applied for this patent in April 1998 and the application has been amended several times following review by the USPTO. The patent is expected to be formally awarded within three months of payment of an administrative fee to the USPTO. The inventors of the patent are John D. McCown, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Trailer Bridge and Malcom P. McLean, the late founder of the Company.
This patent, a type that is generally referred to as a process patent, will cover the Company’s unique method of loading and unloading its Triplestack Box Carrier™ vessels, the first vessels in the world built exclusively to move 53-foot containers. Trailer Bridge was the first company to use 53-foot containers in ocean service in Puerto Rico a decade ago and more recently became the first company to use 53-foot containers in regularly scheduled international service linked to the mainland when it expanded to the Dominican Republic. The process involves aligning a plank with the deck of the Triplestack Box Carrier™ vessels and accessing the deck directly with mobile reach-stackers to load and unload containers. This operation generally results in more productivity compared to typical operations involving large gantry cranes which require expensive and specialized dock facilities. In addition, the Company’s method can readily handle 53-foot containers which are often too large to be handled by traditional gantry cranes.
Trailer Bridge has previously received several patents related to its Vehicle Transport Modules® (VTM®), special purpose modules for receiving motorized vehicles for transportation that interchange easily between transport modes without the necessity of re-handling the vehicles, but this will be the first patent it has received related directly to its unique marine transportation