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Dec 07, 2009

"Greeting" Takes Flight

A single KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight took off and landed in Amsterdam after only an hour in the air last month, but some hope it carried the airline industry into a new environmental world.

A single KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight took off and landed in Amsterdam after only an hour in the air last month, but some hope it carried the airline industry into a new environmental world.

Apr 26, 2006

"Make Work Pay" campaign begins to bring attention to truckers'

Feb 21, 2005

"Qualified Support" For New C-TPAT Standards

Members of a leading trade advisory committee gave only "qualified support" to proposed view standards for companies in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

Members of a leading trade advisory committee gave only "qualified support" to proposed view standards for companies in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

Sep 24, 2009

"We Call This Cancer Alley"

Its 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Along streets of grimy stucco bungalows with bougainvillea, American flags and "Beware of Dog" signs on chain linked fences, a couple of residents are hosing down lawns.

"We call this cancer alley," said Angelo Logan, who grew up on the city of Commerce street.

Its 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Along streets of grimy stucco bungalows with bougainvillea, American flags and "Beware of Dog" signs on chain linked fences, a couple of residents are hosing down lawns.

"We call this cancer alley," said Angelo Logan, who grew up on the city of Commerce street.

May 04, 2010

"We're Number Two"

Speaking of the United States at the close of the two-day nuclear security summit in Washington, DC, last month, US President Barack Obama acknowledge "...weather we lime or not, we remain a dominant military superpower..."

Speaking of the United States at the close of the two-day nuclear security summit in Washington, DC, last month, US President Barack Obama acknowledge "...weather we lime or not, we remain a dominant military superpower..."

Jul 28, 2013

'Casual' Workers at Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports Demand

The small gathering in front of the hiring hall is quiet, but focused on pinning down a job on the waterfront for the day, either at the sprawling Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles.
The part-timers, known as casuals, have been following the routine for years, patient but hopeful that they will one day be hired into a lucrative full-time longshore job.

The small gathering in front of the hiring hall is quiet, but focused on pinning down a job on the waterfront for the day, either at the sprawling Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles.
The part-timers, known as casuals, have been following the routine for years, patient but hopeful that they will one day be hired into a lucrative full-time longshore job.

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Sep 07, 2010

'Train Geeks' Give Railroad Agency High Marks

In Washington, a tight-knit staff of lawyers, economists and analysts churns out reviews and decisions in one of the most obscure corners of the federal government. The self-described crew of train geeks and experts in the arcane field of railroad law give their office high marks for teamwork (85 percent) and pay (81 percent) and their bosses winning scores for leadership (87 percent).

In Washington, a tight-knit staff of lawyers, economists and analysts churns out reviews and decisions in one of the most obscure corners of the federal government. The self-described crew of train geeks and experts in the arcane field of railroad law give their office high marks for teamwork (85 percent) and pay (81 percent) and their bosses winning scores for leadership (87 percent).

Feb 03, 2015

'Gray' Matter - TRAC Intermodal and Direct ChassisLink are expanding their chassis partnership to the Pacific Northwest

Print Edition

TRAC Intermodal and Direct ChassisLink Inc. have formed a “gray “ chassis pool to allow full interchange of most marine chassis in the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland.

The new TRAC Pacific Northwest Pool is structured as a market pool, operated by a management company. TRAC has created a subsidiary, TRAC Chassis Pool Management, to handle this function.

The pool is a forerunner of a market pool that TRAC, DCLI and the other major chassis lessor, Flexi-Van Leasing, are working with other port interests to develop in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Creation of an interchangeable chassis pool in New York – New Jersey was a top recommendation of a port performance task force last year. The council of Port Performance, an industry-wide group implementing the recommendations, hopes to have a market pool in operation by midyear.

In the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, chassis pools to which the three lessors contribute equipment are developing a portwide gray fleet that would operate as a “pools of pools,” with competing pools interchanging chassis through a usage agreement.

These efforts are part of the intermodal industry’s complex and sometimes rocky transition to new arrangements for marine chassis supply.

Ocean carriers, which traditionally supplied most chassis in the U.S. market as part of a bundled service, have transferred most of their chassis to lessors that rent equipment to truckers and other supply chain interests.

The result, especially in Los Angeles – Long Beach and New york – New Jersey, has been a hodgepodge of pools that don’t serve all terminals. Truckers often are forced to make unproductive trips to drop a chassis at one depot and pick up a different pool’s chassis at another.

Without full interchange of equipment, truckers often can’t find usable chassis when and where they’re needed. Chassis imbalances and shortages contribute to slow equipment turnover, congested terminals and general inefficiency.

Chassis in the new Pacific Northwest pool will be available for pickup at authorized start-stop locations at any of the three ports. Those locations won’t change, but will operate as a single pool overseen by TRAC Chassis Pool Management.

The new Pacific Northwest pool will encompass 8,400 chassis and include all chassis currently marked WCMP, TNWA, SSAT or TPNP. All pool chassis eventually will be re-marked TPNP. TRAC will provide 5,959 chassis. DCLI will provide 2,441.

DCLI will maintain its dedicated DCLI-DCLP pool. Its chassis from that pool, marked DCLI and/or DCLP, will not be contributed to the pool.

Print Edition

TRAC Intermodal and Direct ChassisLink Inc. have formed a “gray “ chassis pool to allow full interchange of most marine chassis in the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland.

The new TRAC Pacific Northwest Pool is structured as a market pool, operated by a management company. TRAC has created a subsidiary, TRAC Chassis Pool Management, to handle this function.

Jan 16, 2012

'Open Pools' for Chassis

Print Edition

The Federal Maritime Commission has cautiously cleared the way for truckers, shippers, and others to participate in co-op equipment pools of Consolidated Chassis Management, a company controlled by 20 ocean carriers.

It’s the latest step in an evolution from the traditional model in which ship lines have been the dominant U.S., truckers and cargo interests provide their own chassis.

In recent years, carriers have quit providing free chassis in selected markets, allowing equipment lessors to supply the market. Carriers, meanwhile , have expanded their use of equipment sharing pools that spread suppliers, costs, and expand coverage.

CCM, a subsidiary of the 20-carrier Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, was established in 2006 and now operates six regional cooperative pools. Their approximately 130,000 chassis comprise an estimated 20-25 percent of the U.S. total used for international shipments.

“The pools have done a great job in helping ensure adequate supplies of chassis to meet demand,” said Jeffrey Lawrence, OCEMA’s executive director. “We think opening them to more contributors will result in flexibility that creates competitive opportunities for the shipping public.

“We’ve had expressions of interest from shippers, motor carriers, leasing companies and other logistics companies that would like to structure their arrangements with ocean carriers in different ways that would allow them to become contributors to the pools,” Lawrence said.

Under, its revised antitrust-immunity agreement, CCM will take over management of its pools now run by lessors Trac Intermodal and Flexi-van. CCM has added staff and developed information technology to manage the work.

The FMC approved changes in CCM’s agreement after it was modified to satisfy industry groups and commission staff. Among other things, CCM promised it wouldn’t directly lease chassis to parties that don’t supply equipment to its co-op pools.

FMC Chairman Richard Lidinsky Jr. said he based his approval on CCM’s pledge that the revised pact “does not seek to extend the Shipping Act’s exemption from other antitrust laws, in any form whatsoever, to entities such as equipment leasing companies, that are not ocean carriers.”

The Justice Department and National Industrial Transportation League had expressed concerns that CCM’s original proposal would stretch the pool’s antitrust immunity to encompass domestic entities not regulated by the FMC.

The Institute of International Container Lessors said the amendment’s original wording would have allowed CCM to unfairly compete with IICL members Trac Intermodal and Flexi-van in direct leasing of chassis.

Lidinsky said the FMC would monitor the agreement “to ensure that it does not result in an improper extension of the Shipping Act’s exemptions from general competition, an increase in transportation costs, a reduction in transportation services, or labor disputes that disrupt the flow of commerce.”

The International Longshoremen’s Association urged the FMC not to provide the CCM pools with “leverage to engage competitors in pricing wars that…require decreased operating revenues to be offset by decreases in labor costs.”

Lidinsky said the FMC would monitor CCM to ensure the pools don’t make any changes that will affect, directly or indirectly, where chassis are maintained or repaired , or how many chassis are maintained and repaired pursuant to their current collective bargaining agreements.

The FMC, Lawrence said, opened the way for an “open pool” system withmore choices for users. “this is a very dynamic marketplace, and we wanted flexibility to ensure that the pools meet the needs of shippers, carriers, ports and others,” he said.

“Ocean carriers continue to own and operate the pools and for the foreseeable future will be the main contributor to the pools,” he said. “What this amendment does is create an open flexible system that will create competitive opportunities for the shipping public.”

CCM never intended for its pools to lease to users that don’t contribute chassis to its co-ops, Lawrence said. “That was a misunderstanding of what the amendment intended to do,” he said. The pools will continue to divide costs among members, with no markup.

Each regional pool will continue to operate independently, Lawrence said. A participant in CCM’s Denver-based pool, for example, can’t use chassis from the South Atlantic pool without contributing chassis to it.

Althought CCM has replaced Trac and Flexi-van as pool managers, it expects them to remain involved as equipment suppliers and users. Lessors that contribute to chassis to a pool can draw from it to supply their own customers under daily rentals or longer-term leases. “They’ll have access to equipment at the same cost basis everyone else in the pool does,” Lawrence said. “They can turn around and have whatever arrangements they have with their customers.

As carriers try to reduce their costs, chassis management practices are in flux. Lawrence said CCM’s revised agreement recognizes that. “This agreement opens up a tremendous range of options,” he said. “We don’t know how many arrangements and options will eventually evolve in the marketplace. What we do know is that this agreement allows an open pooling system that provides more flexibility and more comptetition. The more choices in the marketplace, the better it is from  our view.

Print Edition

The Federal Maritime Commission has cautiously cleared the way for truckers, shippers, and others to participate in co-op equipment pools of Consolidated Chassis Management, a company controlled by 20 ocean carriers.

It’s the latest step in an evolution from the traditional model in which ship lines have been the dominant U.S., truckers and cargo interests provide their own chassis.

Apr 13, 2015

'Reliability, Predictability, Stability:' How the Port of Long Beach is Retaining and Attracting Business

Print Edition

As the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles continue working to clear crowded docks and a backlog of more than two dozen ships at anchor – remnants of months long labor contract negotiations and other supply chain issues – both are experiencing significant losses in cargo traffic. Dr. Noel Hacegaba, chief commercial officer for the Port of Long Beach (POLB), assured the Business Journal that the port is working diligently to retain and attract business as it digs out from under the backlog.

In February, the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) saw a 10.2 percent year-over-year decline in cargo traffic, while the POLB’s decrease was twice that at 20.1 percent. “There is a lot of cargo that was destined to come and because of the backlog that we’re in the middle of clearing, it continues to back up,” Hacegaba said. While he attributed the main cause of the decrease in cargo traffic to congestion, he acknowledged some cargo has likely been rerouted to other ports. “The fact is that some of the cargo diverted because of the congestion that we just experienced, he said.

“We have heard cargo owners tell us that they would prefer to send their cargo through Long Beach, but because of the congestion they are looking for alternatives,” Hacegaba said, “But we have also heard that the alternatives are more costly. We take that to mean that any diversion plans that they implement will be temporary.” Another factor at play in stunted cargo traffic was the Chinese New Year in mid-February, during which time cargo usually decreases, he pointed out.

“if you look at the number of vessels at anchor…we see a steady decline in that number, which is a good sign because it means that we’re digging ourselves out of the backlog,” Hacegaba said. “We anticipate that it will be 90 days before we are back to normal operations.”

A confluence of factors led to the intense congestion, including a shortage of chassis (the equipment truckers use to haul containers) and vessels with massive loads of cargo visiting the port more frequently. Exacerbating the issue was that as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association (the group representing the employers of longshore workers) negotiated a new contract, fewer workers than necessary to perform normal operations were deployed to docks to move cargo.

Port staff has been in frequent contact with beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) – the companies that own the cargo passing through the port – since these issues began. “What I can tell you is we have intensified our outreach to the beneficial cargo owners,” Hacegaba said. “we have always had a good relationship with the BCOs and have cultivated the lines of communication with them over the years, but we have intensified that ever since we started seeing the diversion [of cargo],” he noted.

“the question on everyone’s mind is, ‘How soon before you return to normal operations?’ … We have a lot of shippers who are wanting to know where their cargo is and how soon they can get it,” Hacegaba said. “They are also very interested in the long term, because they are getting ready to make decisions about next year’s shipments, and they need to know that they can have confidence in our gateway,” he explained. “That’s why we have intensified our outreach by communicating to them what we’re doing in the short run and what our plans are… to ensure that some of these operational issues that we’ve experience in recent months don’t occur again.”

Last month, Mayor Robert Garcia joined POLB Chief Executive Jon Slangerup and members of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on a business development trip to Europe. “we spent a week visiting the world’s top three ocean carriers. We had very productive meetings,” Hacegaba said. “I think that we were successful in conveying our efforts in the short run and for the long run, instilling confidence in them about our port.”

Hacegaba is the principal liaison between the port and its customers. When asked what he emphasizes to the BCOs and ocean carrier line representatives to keep their business, he summarized: “We’re the shortest distance from Asia. We have the best rail access. We have the best infrastructure and we’re strengthening that. We’re big ship ready, and we’re the biggest gateway in the country. And we continue our [$4 billion] capital improvement program.”

In short term, the port has designated space on Pier S to store chassis, empty containers and loaded containers on chassis. The temporary storage yard is open for use for the next six months to help keep cargo flowing on busy docks. Additionally, the port has capped dockage fees at four days so as not to penalize ships forced to way for long periods of time to unload and receive cargo.

One of the key ways the port is working to improve velocity in the long term is by addressing the shortage of chassis.

“Late last year, when we noticed the surge in congestion, what we identified as a key factor was chassis shortage. Essentially you had three different companies providing chassis, and they were not interoperable. They just created an imbalance and an artificial shortage,” Hacegaba explained. “It was a very inefficient system… So both ports came together with the three different chassis companies and we urged them to fix the problem, which they did.” On March 1, the three companies controlling chassis in the San Pedro Bay Ports area launched a new gray chassis fleet model, allowing truckers to drop off and pick up chassis owned by any company at any of their locations.

“In order to make that certainty for our shippers, because we want to regain their confidence, the Port of Long Beach is going to be investing in our own peak relief fleet [of chassis],” Hacegaba said. “The idea is just to augment the gray fleet and provide that additional assurance to our shippers that chassis will no longer be an issue come peak season.”

Print Edition

As the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles continue working to clear crowded docks and a backlog of more than two dozen ships at anchor – remnants of months long labor contract negotiations and other supply chain issues – both are experiencing significant losses in cargo traffic. Dr. Noel Hacegaba, chief commercial officer for the Port of Long Beach (POLB), assured the Business Journal that the port is working diligently to retain and attract business as it digs out from under the backlog.