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  March 2nd, 2015 | Written by

Chassis-Sharing to Ease Congestion at L.A. and Long Beach Ports

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In a move that should ease the flow of goods through the nation’s two busiest container ports, three companies that own the vast majority of chassis serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have activated a “gray chassis fleet” of truck-trailers.

Marine terminals at the adjacent San Pedro Bay ports—which combine to handle approximately 43 percent of the nation’s total import traffic and 27 percent of its total exports—have experienced a so-called “chassis imbalance,” one of the major factors causing serious chronic delays in the movement of containers in and out of the two ports.

Dubbed the “pool of pools,” the landmark agreement between Direct ChassisLink Inc. (DCLI), Flexi-Van Leasing Inc. and TRAC Intermodal “clears the way for more efficient cargo operations by giving terminal operators and trucking companies at the ports much more flexibility in obtaining chassis—the wheeled trailers used by trucks to haul cargo containers,” according to a joint statement released by the two ports.

The new chassis pact, reviewed and approved by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, allows more than 80 percent of chassis in service at both Long Beach and Los Angeles to be used interchangeably, “which will greatly improve the ease and efficiency of obtaining chassis,” the statement said.

The agreement creates a new chassis-supply model with a team of representatives from each of the three pool operators overseeing day-to-day logistics and repositioning of more than 81,500 chassis. The pools will remain commercially independent, with each chassis provider competing for business and setting its own leasing terms and rates. A separate third-party service provider will manage billing and other proprietary information.

Eleven of the 13 container terminals at the ports, as well as the off-dock rail yards, have said they will participate in the pool. The two remaining facilities container terminals have opted to use their own equipment, but could join the new cassis fleet operation in the future, the ports said.

Implementation of the agreement “is expected to provide immediate relief to the region’s current congestion problems,” the statement said. “Both ports were actively involved in facilitating a chassis solution for several months and continue to work closely with all stakeholders to promote short-term and permanent solutions to eliminate the backlog of cargo stemming from overall cargo growth and shifting dynamics in the shipping industry.”