The trucker-formed North American Chassis Pool Cooperative (NACPC) said its cooperative chassis pooling agreement was approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB)
last month, clearing the way for the group's members to begin pooling chassis for intermodal freight transportation.
American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference
founded the NACPC last year for
drayage truckers who want to buy chassis.
STB said NACPC’s 10 current members account for a very small percentage of the estimated 7,000 motor carriers that provide intermodal transportation of marine chassis in the country, collectively owning and leasing on a long-term basis about 2,400 chassis, a small fraction of the estimated 565,000 chassis in the United States that are used for international shipments, most of which are owned by chassis-leasing companies and ocean carriers.
The board found "the agreement would not unduly restrain competition," noting pool members would "continue to operate independently and compete with one another, as well as be free to acquire chassis for their own use. Nothing in the pooling arrangement would prevent non-NACPC members from seeking authorization for similar pooling arrangements or from contributing individually to chassis pools.
"Furthermore, the pooling arrangement, which currently involves less than 1 percent of chassis in the country, would not appear to restrain competition unduly in the market for international intermodal chassis, given the dominant market shares held by ocean carrier leasing companies (65 percent) and ocean carriers (32 percent)," STB explained.
"Rather, the pooling agreement would allow for a new entrant into, and perpetuate the existence of, contributory chassis pools, which provide an efficient, economical way of making chassis more widely available to users and serve as competitive alternatives to chassis leasing companies," the board said.
With the approval in place, NACPC will start working with ocean carriers and equipment leasing companies to buy or lease chassis for carriers to use and contribute to pools now managed by Ocean Carriers Equipment Management Association's (OCEMA) Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM), said Dave Manning, NACPC's chairman and president of TCW and Tennessee Express based in Nashville, Tenn. OCEMA is an association that was formed by 20 ocean carriers in 2005.
"We are committed to preserving the existing open gray pool contributory model so it can continue to efficiently serve the U.S. intermodal network and supply chain," Manning said.
In October, IMC Cos., which includes Intermodal Cartage Co., purchased 1,520 units from OOCL. According to the ATA's Transport Topics W
ebsite IMC’s chassis were added to CCM’s Mid-South pool that includes Memphis and Nashville.
"Roughly 40 percent of the chassis used by motor carriers are more than 15 years old," Manning said. "So as stewards of this equipment, NACPC plans to refurbish and upgrade this equipment with radial tires, auto inflation devices and improved braking and lighting systems. These equipment improvements are expected to reduce long-term maintenance costs and improve federal Roadability safety compliance.
"Equipment improvements will also provide energy savings and environmental benefits by reducing chassis repositioning distances and lowering
truck transport emissions. A modernized chassis will also increase driver productivity by reducing waiting delays that often occur today because equipment offered for interchange still needs repair before drivers can safely transport container freight to their customers," he said.
NACPC's 10 member companies include California Multimodal, Containerport Group, Devine & Son Trucking Co., Eagle Systems, G & P Trucking Co., Intermodal Cartage Co., Reliable Transportation Specialists, Tennessee Express, Tri-Modal Distribution Services, and Triple G Express. NACPC membership is open to qualified motor carriers. - Chris Dupin