Where Did All the Chassis Go, Ocean Freight Carriers?
APL has joined the bandwagon of ocean freight carriers to stop carrying their own chassis for truckers to use in transporting the ocean freight shipping containers.
While this is not the case around the world, ocean freight carriers in the U.S. tend to have owned and provided chassis to truckers for transporting shipping containers until a trend to no longer own and manage this equipment spread across the ocean freight carrier community.
What sparked this change in operations from the ocean freight carriers?
According to a Waterfront Coalition report from June of 2011 about change in intermodal chassis ownership, it was Maersk.
No big surprise there. Maersk is the big dog when it comes to ocean freight carriers. You’d expect the big dog to be the trend setter. But it’s not quite as simple as everyone doing what Maersk did. Of course, that is how it initially appears Maersk got this trend started?
That Waterfront report stated, “Several years ago, Maersk announced its decision to end its ownership of chassis. As of 2010, the steamship line no longer provides equipment to truckers.”
That seems like “as the big dog does, so does the whole pack.” Starting with Maersk, chassis are commonly no longer provided for truckers/shippers in the U.S. ports by ocean carriers.
This is a big change, causing truckers, or sometimes the international shippers themselves, to need to rent chassis. Of course, this translates into some cost increase for shippers importing and exporting goods.
The result I see for Maersk is more profit, including money being put in their pocket by the other ocean carriers deciding to stop providing chassis as well.
Maersk hadn’t actually gotten rid of their chassis.
The quote above says Maersk announced a decision to give up ownership of their chassis and no longer provided the equipment for truckers as of 2010. What Maersk did was formed the Direct Chassis Link (DCLI) to rent Maersk’s chassis to truckers.
Now Maersk makes money through DCLI to rent their chassis to truckers not only servicing international shippers using Maersk lines, but transporting shipping containers from any ocean freight carrier.
I don’t want to say Maersk pulled a fast one on the other ocean carriers or were misleading by saying they’d decided to give up ownership of their chassis. Maersk is now in the process of relinquishing ownership of their chassis by selling DCLI to Littlejohn & Co., LLC.
I’m sure selling it all off was likely Maersk’s plan from the start–once they made their chassis more valuable. I just couldn’t help but wonder about it all as APL’s announcement to join the bandwagon by phasing out their managing and owning of chassis.
I also wonder how that bandwagon could hold all those ocean carriers without a chassis. Oh, I’m sure Maersk Equipment Services Company, Inc. (d.b.a. DCLI) must have rented them one.