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Walmart Canada's Supercube Trailer Drives Innovation Forward

  • May, 31 2013
  • Industry Sector:Retail


Each Walmart Canada store carries close to 100,000 different products ranging from apparel and home decor to electronics and grocery, plus specialty services such as pharmacies, garden centres, and vision centres, making on-the-ground transportation is a vital part of its operations.

With a workplace that spans 3,500 miles from coast to coast, Walmart Canada wanted to find a way to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain.

Through in-depth research and analysis, Walmart Canada realized that the amount of wasted space currently available in the country’s standard tractor trailer units required attention and challenged itself to build a model that optimizes the use of the cube.


Walmart Canada found the answer in a pilot program using longer, drop-deck trailers called supercubes.

This first-of-its-kind trailer is 60 feet long and has an interior space of 5,100 cubic feet, providing enough room to ship almost 30 percent more volume than a standard 53-foot trailer.


Using these larger trailers takes cars off the road, cutting carbon emissions and saving energy. In addition to their sustainability, they are all-around better trailers with more up-to-date features including fuel-saving resistance tires and side-skirts that decrease aerodynamic drag under the vehicle and consequently, overall fuel consumption. These vehicles also include flush-mounted, timer-set LED lights at the trailer entrance that shut off automatically when not in use.

Walmart first introduced the supercube during its Fall 2012 Transportation Sustainability Conference, and received such great feedback on this innovative and efficient transportation solution that it is set to be rolled out more broadly.


The finished product now carries enough merchandise to supply two stores during one run, which equates to an increase in product shipments by 30 per cent. The cost savings that have resulted are being passed along to the consumer, allowing the company to stay true to its mission to save customers money so that they can live better.

Walmart has never viewed sustainability as a competitive advantage – in fact, the company happily shares the knowledge gained from its sustainability initiatives with others that are interested, including competitors.  As a result of this commitment and belief, sharing the knowledge and technology that went into the design of the truck with other industry leaders who could potentially benefit from it was an important part of this program. While the trailer was designed on behalf of Walmart Canada, the company has no financial stake in future suprecube sales.


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