The three companies that own the vast majority of chassis supplied to the San Pedro Bay ports are on track to activate the “gray chassis fleet” of truck-trailers on March 1. This move should improve the flow of goods through the nation’s busiest harbor complex, according to the POLB, and should help bring an end to the congestion.
Christened the “pool of pools,” the agreement between Direct ChassisLink Inc. (DCLI), Flexi-Van Leasing Inc. and TRAC Intermodal will provide trucking companies and terminal operators more flexibility in getting a hold of said chassis.
11 of the 13 container terminals at the San Pedro Bay ports, including the off-dock rail yards, are expected to take part. The two remaining terminals, who use their own equipment, according to the POLB, could choose to participate in the pool in the future.
“This is a historic agreement that will help our ports overcome a major challenge that has played a significant role in the congestion we’ve experienced,” said Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup in a statement. “We applaud DCLI, Flexi-Van and TRAC for partnering with us to meet the needs of our customers and advancing permanent solutions to improve the flow of cargo.”
“This is a major step forward in addressing the congestion issues that have challenged the San Pedro Bay cargo flow in recent months,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka in a statement. “The gray chassis pool, along with other initiatives underway to improve efficiencies, will help our marine terminals move effectively towards restoring cargo flow through this important gateway.”
While the congestion was largely attributed to strategic issues in October of last year, such as an imbalance created by non-interoperable chassis, which has stalled the movement of cargo, as reported by the Post, the ports are now working with container terminals, shipping lines and the trucking community to provide additional space, sort cargo more efficiently, reduce wait times for truckers and improve real-time data throughout the port complex, according to the POLB.
According to the POLB, the agreement creates a new chassis supply model with a team of representatives from each of the three companies overseeing daily logistics and repositioning more than 81,500 chassis. Each pool will remain commercially independent, with each equipment provider competing for business and setting its own leasing terms and rates. A third-party service provider will manage billing and other proprietary information.
The agreement should provide immediate relief to the region’s current congestion problems, according to the POLB. The process included a review by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, which found, “The increased flexibility created by the interchangeability will enhance customer service, improve chassis productivity and respond to the desire of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports authorities to achieve better overall utilization of the region’s chassis fleets.”