APL phases out U.S. chassis fleet
APL said it will begin phasing out its U.S. fleet of container chassis during the first half of 2012.
The Singapore-based shipping line expects to stop providing chassis at inland locations by the end of the year, divest itself of chassis at East Coast ports in 2013, and complete the phase out in early 2014.
“This is the direction the container shipping industry is moving,” said APL Americas President Gene Seroka, who is based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. “By relying on providers who specialize in chassis management, equipment is deployed more efficiently.”
APL began notifying customers of the change this week. The carrier said divestiture will begin with a pilot program at terminals in Denver and Salt Lake City. That could begin as soon as March.
Shipping lines operating in the United States have historically managed chassis fleets, making trailers available to truckers hauling containers. In recent years many carriers have divested their fleets to cut costs and created chassis pools that improve equipment availability. Some still provide chassis for door-to-door shipments, but require shippers and truckers to provide chassis if they are arranging the inland move of a container.
The company that pioneered the trend, Maersk Line, formed a separate business, Direct ChassisLink, which then leased chassis to truckers. Last week Maersk announced it had sold the business to the Connecticut-based private investment firm Littlejohn & Co.
Twenty of the largest container shipping companies have formed Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) a U.S.-based association that focuses on chassis operations and safety. An affiliate, Consolidated Chassis Management, manages about 125,000 chassis in pools around the country and maintains a tally of announcements of cities n which carriers have stopped providing chassis. It can be viewed here
. — Chris Dupin