Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Truck Chassis Owners Adding to LA/LB Fleets

By Mark Edward Nero

As a result of talks aimed at relieving congestion at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, two truck chassis leasing companies, DCLI and TRAC, say they’ll add more than 3,000 chassis to their local fleet over the next few weeks to match supply and demand.

“We need to increase the utilization of the more than 100,000 chassis in the San Pedro Bay port complex,” Long Beach Harbor Commission Vice President Rich Dines said. “Mega container ships with 10,000-plus total moves per call have added pressure on our chassis pools and far too many chassis sit idle on a daily basis. Interoperability of equipment through a ‘gray’ chassis pool will help relieve port congestion and improve the balance of supply and demand throughout our terminals.”

As a landlord port, Long Beach doesn’t control issues such as chassis management, but does take a leadership role as a facilitator when needed. Dines currently chairs a harbor board subcommittee charged with improving port efficiency. In addition to chassis-related issues, he and Commissioner Lori Ann Farrell are discussing a range of productivity issues including rail, truck turn times and terminal productivity and guiding policy-level solutions.

“Increasing inbound rail movement of export cargo and developing ‘short haul rail’ will help ensure an ample amount of chassis return to port for import delivery,” Dines said. “It is time we take a systems approach to moving cargo and we will start by building a better chassis model.”

On Oct. 7, the Port of Long Beach announced a congestion relief team headed by Chief Executive Jon Slangerup to facilitate solutions to port-related congestion. One of the issues the team identified was the container chassis imbalance.