A private chassis fleet provides more flexibility, but comes with the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the equipment.
Chassis are critical to the efficient flow of marine containers in the US, but the maintenance of the equipment, which was once the exclusive purview of intermodal equipment providers and longshoremen, is increasingly falling on shippers and truckers as they build out their own private fleets.
With a private fleet comes more flexibility, and the ability to avoid costly demurrage penalties, but it also often comes with the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the chassis.
Consolidated Chassis Management spun off its technology group — Consolidated Intermodal Technologies (CIT) — earlier this year to convert their maintenance and repair software into a commercial product to shippers and truckers.
“Recently I spoke with a well-known shipper and I was a little bit surprised to hear that with the 1,000 chassis that they have, they’re managing this entire process on Excel spreadsheets and reviewing paper invoices. I was dumbfounded,” said Tom Martucci, president of CIT. “They have half a dozen people reviewing numbers and getting vendors paid. There are very few things that they actually catch on a repair job when they’re looking at, you know, a paper invoice.”
Shippers and truckers are building their own fleets to protect themselves against chassis outages in major ports such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York and New Jersey, and railroad terminals in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and Memphis. Port authorities in the Southeast indicate more shippers and truckers are also using their own equipment, even though the South Atlantic Chassis Pool has avoided the chassis shortages of other US cities this year.
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