As a result of the Port of Long Beach’s congestion relief efforts, two truck chassis owners, DCLI and TRAC, are adding over 3,000 chassis to their local fleet over the next few weeks to match supply and demand.
"We need to increase the utilization of the more than 100,000 chassis in the San Pedro Bay port complex,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Vice President Rich Dines. “Mega container ships with 10,000-plus total moves per call have added pressure on our chassis pools and far too many chassis sit idle on a daily basis. Interoperability of equipment through a ‘gray’ chassis pool will help relieve port congestion and improve the balance of supply and demand throughout our terminals.”
Dines is chairing a key Board subcommittee charged with improving Port efficiency. In addition to chassis-related issues, Vice President Dines and Commissioner Lori Ann Farrell are discussing a range of productivity issues including rail, truck turn times and terminal productivity and guiding policy-level solutions.
“Increasing inbound rail movement of export cargo and developing ‘short haul rail’ will help ensure an ample amount of chassis return to port for import delivery,” said Dines. “It is time we take a systems approach to moving cargo and we will start by building a better chassis model."
The commissioners are in constant contact with customers and stakeholders, hearing their concerns and ideas. Already, their meetings have focused their discussions on chassis, appointment systems and PierPass.
More chassis on the streets
As a landlord port, Long Beach does not control these issues but recognizes its leadership role as a facilitator. The Port of Long Beach is embarking on several efforts seeking solutions. Through the Board’s leadership, top management at the Port has secured short-term congestion relief with 3,000 more chassis coming on-line in the next few weeks.
“There haven’t been enough chassis. Some terminals have lots of chassis and others do not have enough, which is contributing to the congestion issues,” said Port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup. “We are actively working with our partners to find solutions and I am so pleased with everyone’s cooperation. A special thank you goes to (DCLI CEO) Bill Shea for his help.”
On Oct. 7, the Port announced a Congestion Relief Team headed by Slangerup to facilitate solutions to port-related congestion. One of the issues the team identified is an imbalance of container chassis and they have already found a short-term solution.
“A mismatch of chassis supply and demand is just one of the congestion issues and we recognize that more needs to be done,” said Dr. Noel Hacegaba, Acting Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “That is why we are meeting daily, convening discussions and implementing meaningful solutions.”
Ongoing monitoring and real-time information
The Port’s Congestion Relief Team is monitoring performance daily and is in constant communication with tenants, customers and stakeholders. The team was formed in response to customer feedback and to ensure all stakeholders that the Port is doing what it can to move cargo efficiently and effectively.
Daily meetings provide Slangerup and his team real-time data and observations of what is happening at the Port, allowing the team to adjust their strategy as issues on the ground change.
“Alleviating congestion is one of my top priorities and I know our commissioners are focused on facilitating solutions,” said Slangerup, “and let me be clear – cargo is moving at the Port of Long Beach. We are customer-focused and this is just another way to let our key tenants know that their business success is our primary mission.”