Port of New York/New Jersey chassis supply improves

TRAC Intermodal says inventory optimization as well as new and added equipment have eased shortages.

Port of New York/New Jersey chassis supply improves

TRAC Intermodal says inventory optimization as well as new and added equipment have eased shortages.

Port of New York/New Jersey chassis supply improves

TRAC Intermodal says inventory optimization as well as new and added equipment have eased shortages.

 
Container volumes have risen at the Port of New York and New Jersey over the past year, but TRAC Intermodal says it has been able to meet increased demand for container chassis with the use of an inventory optimization program and through the addition and upgrading of equipment.
    Volumes in the port were up 6.9 percent to 5.9 million TEUs through the end of October. The increase is in part due to the project completed in September 2017 that raised the roadbed of the Bayonne Bridge and allowed larger container ships to begin calling container terminals in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J. and Staten Island, N.Y.
    TRAC has 18,000 chassis in its metro pool, the footprint of which encompasses not only the New York-New Jersey area, but Philadelphia, Baltimore, New England and western New York state.
    Jennifer Polli (pictured), the president and chief executive officer of TRAC, says the company has developed an in-house program for forecasting chassis demand. It uses historical data from TRAC on chassis usage and turn times, as well as container import/export data, projections from ocean carriers and terminals, and “boots-on-the ground” information from TRAC employees to improve chassis supply. For example, the opening of the new set of locks at the Panama Canal has resulted in more container traffic and increased demand for chassis in the Southeast.
    TRAC says other steps it has taken to improve chassis supply include the use of regional “safety stock” depots to increase supply efficiency, the repositioning of chassis from locations where there is a surplus of equipment and extending maintenance and repair hours to maximize output.
   A benefit of better forecasting for TRAC is that it gets better utilization of its equipment.
    TRAC’s performance has been recognized by local draymen. The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers named the company as the best overall chassis provider in the Port of New York and New Jersey in September for a third year in a row. James Bowe, TRAC’s senior vice president and chief commercial officer, was given the group’s Dick Jones Award for outstanding assistance and customer service.
    Beth Rooney, assistant director of strategy and innovation at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, says, “The chassis supply has never been better than it has been in the past 12 to 18 months. While there is always the potential for a peak demand resulting in the right size/type chassis not being where they are needed most, the supply is excellent and the system has been fluid.”
    Just four years ago a port performance task force had identified chassis as being a major problem at the port and recommended creation of an interoperable pool by TRAC, Flexi-Van Leasing and Direct ChassisLink (DCLI) as a top priority, but no agreement over the governance of the proposed pool was reached.
    “The need for a truly interoperable pool is no longer a concern for the port,” said Rooney. “Chassis supply is strong, the system is fluid, units across the suppliers are readily available at shared or adjacent off-terminal depots.”
   Most chassis have been moved off terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey to locations where truckers can return or rent them from multiple carriers.
    Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, says he also is interested in seeing central off-dock container yards set up to ease congestion at Southern California ports.
    Another big change in the Port of New York and New Jersey drayage industry, says Rooney, is that truckers today control about half of all chassis, up from about a third of chassis four years ago.
    Dick Jones, executive director of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, says truckers that own or have long-term leases of chassis can reduce the number of trips they need to make to terminals or off-dock depots if they have to switch equipment, increasing productivity.
    Steve Schulein, a director at the 3PL National Retail Systems, says the major internet equipment providers “have all done a fairly good job of bringing more equipment in the Port of New York and New Jersey.”
   But he says his company is among those that has added equipment under long-term leases both in the New York area and in California.
    “Either you’ve got to be able to commit yourself to take chassis on for a longer period of time or just stay with the pool,” he says. “If the pool should run short, then you don’t have a fallback position. That’s the risk and I would not do that with our customers.
    “The difference, of course, is that you’re responsible for the maintenance,” but he says the company has a large maintenance group that cares for its own private fleet as well as its tractors and trailers.
    TRAC was founded 50 years ago as Interpool Ltd. and today is owned by Fortress Investment Group. Nationwide it has a fleet of 185,000 chassis, making it the largest marine chassis provider in the country. It has rebuilt about 8,000 chassis in each of the past three years and added 9,000 chassis in the past year. TRAC sold its domestic chassis fleet to DCLI in January.
    Polli says it has adapted its inventory optimization program to the nine chassis pools the company operates in other parts of the country. It also contributes chassis to pools operated by Consolidated Chassis Management and operates out of 600 locations nationwide.
   It also operates a pool of about 700 premium chassis called TRAC Select, which leases equipment such as tri-axle chassis for carrying containers with heavy loads.
    While owning and leasing chassis are its primary business, TRAC offers related services. In 2015 it launched TRAC Services, which operates eight service centers around the U.S. that store and repair chassis and operate mobile service trucks that are deployed at key railroad nodes. In 2016 it acquired a company now known as TRAC Interstar that provides emergency roadside assistance to motor carriers. In November it acquired a tire service company that will be known as TRAC Tire Services that provides tire wholesale, service, parts distribution and retreading to the intermodal and commercial trucking industries.

I really can’t think of a worse response to the myth of the driver solution than to reduce the driver age or reduce the already low standards to get a CDL.

The Port of Oakland in May handled 85,964 TEUs of loaded imports and 78,070 TEUs of loaded exports, up 4.2% and 8.4% year-over-year, respectively.

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Port of New York/New Jersey chassis supply improves

TRAC Intermodal says inventory optimization as well as new and added equipment have eased shortages.

Dec 27, 2018 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com

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Port of New York/New Jersey chassis supply improves

TRAC Intermodal says inventory optimization as well as new and added equipment have eased shortages.

Dec 27, 2018 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com