HONG Kong-based international forwarder U-Freight is investing in air-ride suspension technology and fitting the equipment to the fleet of vehicles which operate its express service in China. The equipment is manufactured by Load-Air, a US-based market leader in this area. Load-Air, the air bag energy absorbing system, reduces shock transmitted through tyres, axles and suspensions into the body of the trailer or truck. Load-Air technology smooths out uneven road conditions and significantly reduces axle-hop, bogie chatter and keeps the vehicle tyres in contact with the ground. By giving air-ride performance from spring suspension, the potential for product damage is greatly reduced. Load-Air uses two air bags per axle, supported from a seat attached to the axle and a bracket attached to the vehicle frame. Air to the air bags is supplied from the vehicle's air system at a constant pressure. Reaction of the air bags to axle movement or bumps in the road is instantaneous and automatic, maintaining constant pressure between axles and frame. Load-Air provides a dampening effect on axle upward thrust, thus intercepting the impact of the bump before it can be transmitted to the vehicle and its cargo. One of the first forwarders in the region to introduce such equipment, U-Freight expects the new equipment to reduce the risk of damage to cargo during transit. Chinese roads are not yet up to Western standards and many industrial premises lack handling equipment such as fork-lift trucks. U-Freight's China Express service handles a large number of computers and other delicate equipment within China. Until now, inland transport has been difficult to arrange because of the lack of specialised trucks and other equipment.