Watch Now

Charger Logistics taps Istobal for truck washing solutions

Istobal’s HW’Intrawash autonomous cleaning system for refrigerated and dry van trailers is engineered to clean a 53-foot trailer in about 13 minutes.

Charger Logistics recently became one of the first U.S. companies to install an autonomous trailer cleaning unit from Istobal for its facility in Laredo, Texas. Image: Charger Logistics

With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing in the United States and Canada, Charger Logistics aims to keep its fleet of trucks clean and ready for work.

Charger Logistics recently became one of the first U.S. companies to install an HW’Intrawash autonomous trailer cleaning unit from Istobal for its facility in Laredo, Texas.

Istobal, based in Valencia, Spain, is a multinational company that designs and manufactures vehicle washing solutions.

Jon Drohan, director at Charger Logistics, said the intrawash unit reduces the time it takes to clean trailers, while sanitizing them more consistently.  

“The automated washing machine is mounted to our dock, it’s a fully autonomous telescopic wash head that goes inside the trailer,” Drohan said. “You back the trailer up to the docks, mount the telescopic equipment into the trailer. And then you choose what you want the machine to do.”

Istobal’s autonomous cleaning system is aimed at refrigerated and dry-van trailers. Image: Courtesy

Drohan said the unit has several modes, including a hot high pressure rinse, a wash using  degreasing agents, as well as a full sterilization of the trailer.

“It’s quick too, if you’re just doing a rinse out of the trailer it takes three minutes. If you do a full sterilization, it’s about 13 minutes from start to finish, from backing it into the dock to driving it away,” Drohan said.

The HW’Intrawash units can be operated by one person and can clean up to 300 trailers a week, Drohan said.

The company is in the process of installing an Istobal intrawash unit at Charger Logistics facility in Brampton, Canada.

“We are told that we will be the first in Canada once the Istobal cleaning unit at our Brampton head office-terminal goes online,” Drohan said.

Charger Logistics was founded in 2003 in Canada, and has a fleet of more than 800 trucks and 2,000 trailers, including reefers, dry vans, chassis, flat beds and step decks. The company also opened a 30-acre Laredo cross-border facility in May 2019, and is in the process of opening an office in Mexico.

Charger Logistics purchased the Intrawash units before the coronavirus pandemic started, but they are more important than ever, said company spokesman Ryan Kent.

“It is really important to recognize how we’re controlling and ensuring the safe movement of the freight for our customers in these really unprecedented times,” Kent said.

F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]