CHASSIS ISSUES HERE TO STAY, Southern California

 

Here at LAX/LGB ports, the chassis shortages have been a growing problem since 2014. Currently, all steamship lines are charging chassis usage fees to the trucking companies. All LAX/LGB ports and rail stations do not provide chassis services, instead we have a “Pool of Pools” (POP).

Pool of Pools (POP) – Four major marine container chassis pools operating in the San Pedro Basin port

  • DCLI, TPSP, Flexi-Van, and SSA with a combined 80,000 chassis in service.
    • About 45,000 chassis are currently taking up space in the terminals, the rest are off-dock.
  • Provides service to LAX/LGB ports and 4 major rail facilities out of Southern California.
  • They manage their own equipment, responsible for inspecting, maintaining and relocating of the chassis’ s.
  • There are multiple locations for the chassis pool, both on and off-dock terminals.

Terminals are contracted with certain chassis providers and will accept chassis’ s from those providers. This creates the unnecessary problem of having to pick up and return chassis from other locations. Long before when terminals managed their own chassis’ s both container and chassis would out-gate from a single terminals. But now we see a growing trend of pick up chassis from location A and pick up the load from location B. Return the empty to location C and return the chassis to location A. When booking containers from a steamship line who is borrowing vessel space from another steamship lines creates this problem just explained earlier. Some terminals do not even pool chassis’ s therefore off-dock bare chassis are required.

  • It is the responsibility of the POP to relocate the bare chassis to the proper locations.
  • Currently the POP do not have enough manpower to properly redistribute the chassis to the assigned terminals.
  • Therefore trucking companies are left redistributing bare chassis’ s because terminals refuse to take chassis not respective of their contract. This charge is known as the “Chassis split”.
  • In turn the shippers and/or receivers are left having to cover this extra charge.

More often than not, the Chassis split charges are appearing because the POP do not have a solution to solving their redistribution problem for several reasons.

  • There just isn’t enough truckers in southern California to provide these services.
  • The cost involved to hire truckers for relocation of bare chassis’ s is quite expensive.
  • There is also congestion for the drivers relocating bare chassis’ s, the turn time is too long to efficiently relocate bare chassis’ s all day.
  • There are disputes as to where chassis should go to depending on demand, during peak seasons, every terminal is asking for bare chassis’ s.

The chassis shortage in the southern California region has been a growing problem. At one point we had seen containers sitting on the dock for over 20 days waiting for on-dock rail. The average dwell time currently is around 5 – 10 days for on-dock rail when normally this used to be 3 days.

The chassis problems have been around and will stay around for some time. There is no good resolution to solving this issue. The chassis split issue is starting to become the norm as time slowly passes by. As the chassis providers become less reluctant to solving the efficient relocation of chassis’ s to terminals, we will be experiencing large congestions with chassis handling as well as additional charges associated with relocation and waiting times for chassis pick up/returns.