Consolidated Chassis Management plans to take over day-to-day management of its six intermodal chassis pools and allow shippers and motor carriers to join container ship lines in supplying the pools with equipment.
CCM, a subsidiary of the 20-member Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, asked the Federal Maritime Commission to approve the changes. If the FMC does not object, the amendment to CCM’s cooperative agreement will take effect in 45 days.
CCM was formed in 2005. It operates six co-op pools with about 130,000 chassis. Ocean carriers supply chassis to the co-op pools, which now are managed by Flexi-Van and Trac Intermodal.
Under the planned changes, CCM would take over the pools’ day-to-day management, operating them using information technology the OCEMA subsidiary has developed over the past two years.
CCM already is using information technology for chassis management for pools in the Midwest and Denver regions. CCM’s other chassis pools cover Chicago and the Ohio Valley, the Gulf Coast, the Mid-South and the South Atlantic.
Operating its pools directly instead of through third parties will allow CCM to cut out a layer of management, said Jeffrey Lawrence, OCEMA’s executive director. “The hope is that it will allow more efficient operation of the pools and help them control costs,” he said.
CCM’s staff will increase from the current eight to about 100.
Lawrence said motor carriers and shippers have asked to be able to participate in CCM’s pools to ensure they have access to chassis.
The United States is the only major nation where most chassis are supplied by ocean carriers. In the rest of the world, truckers and cargo interests provide them.
The U.S. chassis model, however, is in flux. During the last two years, numerous carriers have quit providing free chassis in selected markets and turned their equipment over to leasing companies that rent chassis to truckers. Other carriers continue to provide chassis as they have traditionally done.
As the chassis industry evolves, ocean carriers decided to change CCM to enable it to adjust to future changes, Lawrence said. “In general, these changes reflect an effort by CCM to provide more flexibility and open the pools to accommodate whatever changes may occur over the next couple of years,” he said.
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