National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Analysis and Optimization Methods for Centralized Processing of Chassis

Project Number


Project Summary

The Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex is the intermodal gateway to Pacific Rim trade and the busiest container port complex in the United States, consisting of fourteen individually gated terminals. In 2010, the combined ports handled 13.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This figure represents a 37% increase since 2000. The figure of 13.5 million TEUs implies that almost 7.5 million containers were handled during 2010 in the LA/LB port complex1 , resulting in more than 11.5 million container trips to/from the ports in a single year, since additional trips to the port are generated by empty containers. This very high number of container trips results in traffic congestion and pollution in the areas around the ports. As indicated by recent port statistics, it is expected that this number grows even higher in the future.

It is clear that any system which helps reducing the number of truck trips to and from container terminals is worth investigating. As a consequence, such a system reduces traffic congestion, noise and emissions, and saves time for both truckers and port operators. In this project we propose to investigate the concept of Centralized Processing of Chassis. This concept revolves around an off-dock terminal (or a number of off-dock terminals), which we will call them Chassis Processing Facilities (CPFs). A CPF is located close to the port, where trucks will go to exchange chassis. The first step in the operation is that a container will be loaded onto a chassis at the marine terminal. The second step is that the chassis will be transported to the CPF during off-peak hours, e.g. during the night. The last step in the operation is when a truck carrying a chassis with a container will drive into the CPF. At this point, the truck will exchange the chassis it brought into the CPF with another chassis and container, which has already been transported to the CPF during the second step. The exchange operation involves unhooking a chassis and hooking up another one at the CPF. This is much simpler, more efficient and a lot faster than the operation of unloading and loading containers at the marine terminal.

The purpose of this proposal is to investigate and provide an analytical framework for the "Centralized Processing of Chassis" concept. This is an idea that is currently being explored by marine terminals worldwide, as a potential method for reducing traffic congestion around ports.

Project Status




Topic Area

Sustainable Urban Freight

P.I. Name & Address

Professor, Computer Engineering Computer Science Department; College of Engineering
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States

Funding Source

U.S. Department of Transportation

Total Project Cost


Agency ID or Contract Number

Research Subaward No. 201302432-02

Start and End Dates

1/1/2016 to 21/31/2016

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