Startup offers a path through LA-LB chassis chaos

Startup offers a path through LA-LB chassis chaos

Shippers can face uncertain costs when container volumes spike and chassis in Southern California become scarce or get split from the terminal where a container is located. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Venture capital-fueled drayage startup NEXT Trucking has released a new tool it says will help shippers manage costs associated with chassis in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Los Angeles-based NEXT said its Chassis Management application allows beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to track costs passed on to them as a result of what at times can be an inefficient chassis environment in the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.

During periods of high container volumes at the ports, a shortage of chassis can cause drivers to have to wait for an available chassis, while containers can rack up demurrage fees assessed by terminals. Additionally, a lack of chassis can result in fees assessed to shippers for chassis splits, where the container to be picked up is not in the same yard as the chassis assigned to the load. The technology company said “free chassis” agreements between shippers and container lines are often at the root of the inefficiencies.  

“We will drastically improve our understanding of chassis ‘free days’ agreements and define cost-saving scenarios for shippers, measuring factors such as season, congestion, and terminals,” NEXT CEO Lidia Yan said in a statement. “In the end, we will help shippers save money by using data and fee predictions to move their shipments faster and in a more cost-effective way.”

Shipper benefit from dray efficiency

NEXT, which has raised $125 million in venture capital, has focused on application programming interface (API)-based tools that empower Southern California drivers to be more productive and profitable, banking on the idea that wringing more efficiency out of owner-operators will have benefits for shippers. 

In June, the company told JOC.com it plans to open an 18-acre yard 10 miles from the Port of Long Beach in early 2020 that will accommodate the trucking company’s Relay drayage program. Relay aims to improve cargo flow and cut turn times by dividing delivery and pickup routes into four legs.

Instead of a drayage truck picking up a container and then driving 60 to 80 miles to deliver it to the warehouse, the NEXT system allows the trucker to drop the container at the NEXT yard and return to the port with another box, Yan said. The container is then picked up at the yard and transported to its destination by an over-the-road driver, enabling the drayage driver to do more turns in a day and ensure that each of them is a double turn, she said.

NEXT also provides full truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) services to and from California, predominantly tethered to import and export cargo out of the Southern California ports.

Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.

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