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Chassis Shortage At Ports Still A Big Problem For The Trucking Industry

Chassis Shortage At Ports Still A Big Problem For The Trucking Industry

Some problems cannot be foreseen or anticipated, and a chassis shortage is often one of them. It seems like every year or two, reports of chassis shortages start erupting early in the season, and it looks like this year will be no different.

When container shipping became the norm 50 years ago, chassis were owned, as well as maintained, by carriers. When a trucker went to pick up a shipment, he or she would find a carrier-owned chassis ready and waiting for them. With the dawn of the new Roadability Rule and all the fuss it entails, marine carriers that once owned chassis are now going out of business, leaving equipment leasing companies with the bulk of the burden to carry.

A few gray chassis pools have emerged at certain smaller ports, which allow chassis to be picked up from any terminal or storage yard and then returned to a completely different one. Harbor truckers can rest easy knowing that they won’t have to drop off a container at one location and the chassis at another. Those that provide the pooled equipment do so, according to what they estimate their monthly usage to be and then, they are billed or credited each month according to what they actually used. Benefits include almost no chassis shortages, simpler billing, easy pick up and return, and ports now needing less expensive chassis to meet their needs. The Georgia Ports Authority was able to reduce their overall chassis number from 8,000 to a slim 2,400.

However, the pooling method works best at inland locations, where ports can persuade all chassis providers making use of their facilities to join the gray pool. Since larger ports like Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York-New Jersey cannot dictate to shipping lines, they aren’t as adaptive to the process and lease their facilities to terminal operators who decide how to manage their chassis.

Private sector companies are fighting a fierce battle over labor jurisdictions pertaining to who has to maintain and repair the chassis. Issues such as equipment ownership and repositioning, availability and billing are taking over as a top priority for shippers. There are different types of chassis available to rent from leasing companies, which means drivers must go out of their way to get their rental back to the appropriate location. But one chassis does not simply equal another and leasing companies want to keep a close eye on their wares, which is hassle for most drivers. – See more at:

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