The United States is unique in that international container chassis are provided primarily by ocean carriers and, to a lesser degree, leasing companies, railroads, motor carriers, and other entities. For ocean carriers, it is a non-revenue-generating service. The global recession in 2009 resulted in large ocean carrier financial losses. Ocean carriers were forced to look for ways to reduce costs and divest themselves of non-revenue-generating operations such as chassis supply. Concurrently, in December 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released new requirements for intermodal equipment providers and motor carriers and drivers operating intermodal equipment. Ocean carriers, railroads, chassis pool operators, and other Intermodal Equipment Providers (IEPs) are now subject to FMCSA regulation. As a result of the enactment of these new safety-focused chassis roadability rules, IEPs are required to establish a systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance program and mark all equipment with U.S. DOT identification numbers or other unique identifiers to ensure intermodal chassis roadworthiness for truckers and provide a means for draymen to report mechanical defects. These regulations and the ocean carrier chassis divestiture strategies are spurring the introduction of new approaches to international chassis supply and management. Efforts include the use of neutral chassis pools and the establishment of off-terminal depots. Alternatively, some ocean carriers, following a model prevalent in the rest of the developed world, are moving to abolish their chassis fleets and transfer chassis supply responsibilities to other parties within the supply chain. Given these developments, research is needed that provides a thorough description of the changes taking place throughout the industry and an analysis of the international container chassis supply models to minimize negative impacts to stakeholders.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for beneficial cargo owners, public officials, and other transportation stakeholders that describes the historical and evolving models of international container chassis ownership and management, and the factors unique of each, in order to inform stakeholder decisionmaking for the efficient and cost-effective movement of containerized freight, both import and export, in the United States.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
(1). Describe the functions and uses of international container chassis in freight movement and the factors driving the chassis supply model changes. (2). Identify and describe the current chassis supply models (e.g., ocean carrier supplied, trucker supplied, pools) by region and terminal operating mode (e.g., wheeled, grounded, or hybrid) used in the United States. (3). Within 2 months of contract award, conduct a conference call with NCFRP to present the results of Tasks 1 and 2.(4). Identify and describe the stakeholders and how they influence and/or are affected by each chassis supply model. Identify and quantify the positive and negative aspects, including any unintended consequences, of each chassis supply model for each stakeholder. Enumerate the cost elements and drivers for each element of the various chassis supply models and identify the key metrics to measure the performance of each chassis supply model. Describe methods to improve the implementation and operation of each chassis supply model. Provide a matrix that guides each stakeholder to evaluate chassis supply models.(5). Within 7 months of contract award, submit (a) an interim report summarizing the results of Tasks 1 through 4; (b) a list of 35 key private stakeholders and a list of 25 public stakeholders to invite, respectively, to two separately recorded webinars in Task 7 that present the results of the research; and (c) an outline of the contents of the webinars. (6). Meet with NCFRP to review the Task 5 deliverables. (7). Conduct the recorded webinars, gather feedback, and summarize the feedback.(8). Prepare a final report documenting the entire research effort and the guidebook for beneficial cargo owners, public officials, and other transportation stakeholders that describes the historical and evolving models of international container chassis ownership and management, the factors unique of each, in order to inform stakeholder decisionmaking for the efficient and cost-effective movement of freight, both import and export, in the United States.