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Chassis Distribution Issues Causing Delays at Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports

Image via Flickr by raebrune

Providing chassis for deliveries at U.S. ports is not exactly lucrative, which is why a number of large ocean shipping companies (such as Maersk Line, Yang Ming, CMA CGM, OOCL, NYK Line, and Evergreen) have decided to quit providing this service at several U.S ports, including those at Long Beach and Los Angeles. Now port and terminal operators, as well as third-party companies are buying up chassis and offering these services to shippers at the ports. The problem with so many ocean-shipping companies sharing their port access slots is it is not always possible to get the chassis to the right place at the right time. These chassis are used to transport the intermodal containers via railroad or long haul trucks.Under the new structure, shipments are coming into one terminal, while the chassis are delivered to another. Delays aren’t being caused by a lack of the overall number of chassis, but instead because the chassis and shipments are not in the same places. In many cases, drayage truckers are carrying the chassis to the terminal where the shipments are free. The entire process is causing delays of shipments to North American recipients, just as Chinese shipments are up by about 10 percent.

Now the issue comes up about who will pay for the transportation of the chassis to the right terminals. For now, trucking companies are providing this service free, but in an industry with low profit margins and already underpaid drivers, this is clearly not a long-term solution. A study conducted before the new system was put into place determined a central pooling location for the chassis would work at the Long Beach port. However, this planned procedure has not been implemented yet, leaving many shipments sitting waiting at terminals for chassis, while recipients of the shipments wait and wonder where their merchandise is.

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