The industry is witnessing some pressure on chassis availability currently and an uptick in volume in the coming weeks which will increase the probability the issue will worsen. The main drivers limiting the availability of chassis are:
1. Appointments at the terminals for returns of empties are scarce
-Appointment times must be planned two to three days in advance.
-The number of appointments made available to the community are based on contractual inventories negotiated between SSL & Terminal. As those levels reach their allocation, SSL’s must either procure additional inventory capacity within the terminal, secure additional parking off-dock, procure additional slots on a vessel to evacuate their equipment, or risk being shut out by that terminal.
-Motor carriers must secure the first available appointment. This may or may not be a valid appointment based on the direction provided by the ocean carrier and restrictions instituted by the marine terminal operator, i.e. dual transactions versus single transaction, no 20’ versus 40’s, etc
2. In conjunction with above, longer street time decreases available chassis for re-use.
3. Out of Service (OOS) chassis (currently 13-14 percent of chassis in the pool are inoperable).
-The plan is for five to six percent OOS.
Chassis leasing companies are currently reporting little to no availability. Ultimately these issues drive higher costs in two ways: higher daily chassis fee and the potential to incur detention and demurrage charges.
NFI / California Cartage Company continues to advocate on shippers’ behalf through our interaction with the Harbor Trucking Association and the California Trucking Association. It’s recommended for shippers to remain educated on this topic and make a point to discuss with their supply chain providers. To stay up-to-date on industry and company news, subscribe to NFI’s monthly newsletter here.