The Port of New York and New Jersey has been hit with a shortage of chassis for draying containers traveling to and from the terminals, reports the Journal of Commerce.
The shortages are most serious at Maher Terminals in Port Elizabeth, N.J., and Global Terminal in Jersey City, JOC reports. The New York Container Terminal on Staten Island has experienced shortages as well.
Maher Terminals sent a letter to port truckers in the area notifying them of the shortage. “We are still experiencing severe Metro chassis shortages; however, we are doing limited processing of drivers based upon chassis returns,” the letter said. The letter asked drivers in possession of metro chassis to return them to Maher’s depot.
The shortages are a result of a surge of vessels arriving at terminals in New York Harbor due to the July 4 holiday and the beginning of the peak import season, Jim Bowe, vice president of field sales and customer service for Trac Intermodal told JOC. “We’re clearly seeing some peaks in volumes and vessel bunching, which historically happens in July and August.”
Trac Intermodal leases chassis to port truckers and operates a chassis pool in the harbor, and it continued to do so even after many ocean carriers stopped providing chassis as part of their service.
Truckers voiced their concerns about the shortages at a meeting this week of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers. “Trac kept saying they don’t have enough labor to fix them,” said Jeff Bader, president of the association. The International Longshoremen’s Association is the organization with jurisdiction over the repair of these chassis.
“We are looking for more labor at the terminals to fix chassis,” Bowe told JOC, explaining that when chassis are in short supply at one terminal, Trac will direct truckers to terminals with availability. “If chassis are short at Terminal A, you can go down the street to Terminal B and we have equipment available, so I wouldn’t categorize this as a chassis shortage.”
Still, port truckers are being delayed because of lack of available chassis at some terminals, limiting the trips they can make in a day and cutting into their earnings.
“This is causing false pickups and drivers sitting at the piers for hours waiting for chassis to come in and out,” Bader told JOC. “The purpose of a poll is to increase productivity; what we are seeing is a decrease in productivity. You’ve got demurrage issues, free-time issues and everything that goes along with that.”
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