Shippers stop providing intermodal chassis
In the last year, several shippers have begun phasing out providing intermodal chassis or charging for them at ports because they said it adds to efficiency and reduces emissions.
Still, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s intermodal equipment final rule, effective 14 months ago, is likely to have played into these decisions. Issued in compliance with the last omnibus transportation bill, the rule made intermodal equipment providers subject to federal roadability regulations for the first time.
The trucking industry united to advocate for the rule, which seeks to ensure safe intermodal chassis.
These providers were required to register and keep maintenance and repair records with the agency by Dec. 17, 2009. A Dec. 29, 2009, amended final rule delayed certain requirements until June 10. The providers’ chassis must have the owner’s name and U.S. DOT identification number on it by Dec. 17.
A year ago, Maersk was the first major shipper to charge for chassis with its Direct Chassis Link program. It started in Northeast ports, expanded to Gulf and Northwest ports and has expanded to other ports.
In July, CMA CGM implemented a new chassis Supply Management Policy to cease chassis supply to truckers. It will start in Mobile, Ala., in October, and end with West Coast ports in March.
Orient Overseas Container Line Limited began to quit offering chassis at ports last year and is implementing this in stages.
In August, NYK Line North America Inc. quit furnishing chassis in smaller Northeast markets, but delayed its original Sept. 1 deadline for the Oakland, Calif., port. NYK said it will charge for merchant hauling moves only and all carrier hauling chassis usage cost will be for the NYK account. It cited better efficiency and decreased environmental impact.
Major shipper Evergreen Line started phasing out chassis provision for Boston import and export cargo in August. It said terminal space and projected growth makes chassis storage no longer viable.
In June, Atlantic Container Line ACL began shifting its U.S. carrier-arranged trucking moves to motor carriers that furnish the chassis. It had negotiated with a “broad range of truckers who have convinced the company that these same trucking companies or owner-operators can manage a chassis fleet more cost-efficiently than an ocean carrier can do,” it said. ACL will phase out its carrier-owned chassis fleet for shipper-arranged hauling shipments, starting in Miami, Boston and Ohio Valley, and later other ports.
— Jill Dunn
August spot market freight hits 5-year peak
TransCore announced its North American Freight Index achieved its highest level for August since 2005.
Spot market freight availability in August increased 75 percent over August 2009. TransCore expects year-over-year comparisons to weaken in coming months, as this year’s spot market freight volume will be compared to the improving levels of freight volume seen in the second half of 2009.