Archive for the ‘Chassis’ Category

Can Ports Keep Up with the Changing Needs of Container Lines?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

Many changes are taking place with containerships and the ocean carrier industry these days. Let’s discuss what is going on in this industry:

  • Mergers & Acquisitions – Many of the world’s largest carriers are forming alliances to grow their trade volume. Previously a port terminal was assigned to one carrier. That is no longer the case. The latest merger combines two Chinese carriers, China Ocean Shipping Co. (Cosco) and China Shipping Group Co. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.; Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line); Hanjin Shipping Co.; Hapag-Lloyd AG and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. have disclosed plans to form a new space-sharing partnership known as THE Alliance, operating in all east-west trade lanes.
  • New gigantic containerships up to 18,000 TEUs require ports to revamp by dredging channels, lengthening berths, adding cranes and expanding yard space.
  • The bigger the ship, the longer the turnaround time to load and unload ships. Making appointments at the dock is a good way to speed this activity by ensuring the right amount of workers are available and there is an opening at the berth. Faster turnaround times save costs.
  • New regulation to weigh each loaded container and certify its verified gross mass (VGM) prior to loading on ship is confusing. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires shippers to accurately declare the full weight of a container – both its contents and the equipment itself before it’s loaded aboard ship. The confusion comes with how and when to weigh the box and its contents, as many countries and organizations interpret the ruling differently.

Automating and optimizing operations is one way to address these issues by improving the flow of information. When a ship arrives in port, it triggers a large amount of information. Sharing this information with all trading partners means businesses can make more informed decisions that lead to bottom line success.

Reducing empty miles through street turns can enable motor carriers and ocean carriers to better utilize assets. IAS’ ChassisManager efficiently manages the financial and liability aspects of this activity. By eliminating these impediments to optimization, IAS makes it easier for intermodal participants to reduce empty mileage, cut fuel costs and emissions, decrease congestion, and eliminate cumbersome administration.

Using chassis management and transportation automation solutions from IAS ensure accurate invoicing and faster collection of detention and demurrage charges. IAS DispatchTariff module gives full visibility and control of all your drayage rates. Instantly create, view, update, or delete rates with easy-to-use fields.

Keeping up to date with the shifting patterns of the industry helps shippers and ports to stay ahead of the competition and improve bottom line results.

By Blair Peterson

What do the West Coast Port Strikes Mean to My Supply Chain?

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

A tentative agreement has been reached between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), ending the 9-month standoff between the parties operating the US West Coast ports. While this is good news, there is still so much backlog at the ports that it will take several months for the ports to operate at normal levels.

Congestion began building earlier last year, even before the last contract expired July 1. Employers have said union-coordinated work slowdowns exacerbated the problem, and provided data that cargo has been moving at about half its normal rate since the fall. However, both the PMA and ILWU have committed to return to full productivity levels immediately.

The port bottlenecks have caused a ripple effect that is deep and wide across nearly every industry. From perishable foods to automotive parts to retail products, pretty much every supply chain along the way has been disrupted, causing missed shipments and unhappy customers. Per Port Strategy magazine, “When port operations slowdown, and cargo begins to build up, a port-wide gray chassis pool is said to be one of the best options for efficient chassis provisioning.”

The recent announcement of the establishment of the Pool of Pools, which will provide chassis for the transportation of containers between ports, rail yards, and cargo destinations, will be a major help for smoothing operations at the West Coast ports. Chassis providers at the ports have created a pool of chassis available to rent or lease to help move the containers.

Per the recent press release, “The participating pool managers will monitor usage of the fleet and cooperate on the positioning of chassis across the complex, and will utilize a third party service provider to facilitate operation of the concept. This third party service provider will audit cross-pool chassis usage to allow the pools to compensate one another for such usage on a regular basis, and assist in preventing the exchange of competitively sensitive information between the pools and chassis providers.”

This third party is International Asset Systems, which created ChassisManager to facilitate chassis provisioning. IAS ChassisManager enables asset providers to easily and conveniently rent their chassis to their motor carrier partners and other potential chassis users. It also enables motor carriers to easily register, receive rental agreement approval, monitor their rented chassis fleet, view and reconcile chassis rental charges, and easily download information for billing.

Experts in the Pool of Pool Concepts – IAS

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

At the end of 2014, the port authority, marine terminals, various associations, and ocean carriers agreed upon a port-wide chassis pool in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The press release reads, “The Council on Port Performance (CPP) Equipment Implementation Team, whose members consist of the Port Authority of NY & NJ, Chassis Leasing Companies, Marine Terminals, International Longshoremen’s Association, Labor Associations, Trucker Associations, and Ocean Carriers, agreed on November 20th to implement a port-wide chassis pool in the Port of New York and New Jersey (PONYNJ).”

A gray chassis pool, where various chassis providers contribute their chassis into one large fleet, and/or enable “cross-pool” starts and stops, is one of the best options for efficient chassis provisioning since the US chassis provisioning market changed two years ago. Within this port-wide chassis pool, competitors whose assets are being interchanged within the pool need a neutral moderator with expertise in managing the “pool of pools.”

The PANYNJ agreement follows that of the Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, who had come to that same conclusion earlier to 2014. In that region, two chassis pool operators (Flexi-Van and DCLI), had already been granted approval by US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to organize such a pool-of-pools.

Having a pool like this requires a third party to perform various chassis usage reconciliation tasks while meeting government regulations on anti-trust, ensuring neutrality and keeping commercial terms confidential. International Asset Systems (IAS) is assigned the responsibility for these tasks in the SoCal pool of pools.

IAS is a provider of technology that connects shipper communities to the goods transport industry. It is a neutral party without cargo- or asset-related interests. With thousands of motor carriers and intermodal facilities interacting with its services daily, IAS has the understanding and capability to address the changing chassis market.

Transloading and Other Factors Affecting Drayage Truck Capacity

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

There is a growing trend in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach whereby retailers and other importers increasingly are avoiding shipping ocean containers inland by rail and instead transloading into domestic containers that then move by truck or rail. This has exacerbated an ever-growing shortage of drayage truck capacity that is under strain from many issues ranging from vessel size to chassis availability.

Containers are backed up on the docks at Los Angeles and Long Beach, while trucks wait in long lines at the terminal gates. Frustrated importers and exporters are diverting cargo to other ports in an effort to get their containers to the right location at the right time. Together the two ports handled a combined 14.4 million 20-foot-equivalent units annually. Whether Trans-Pac trade growth will recoup coast-wise volume diversion, remains to be seen.

There’s a real estate effect too: importers and exporters need more transload facilities, which is causing available industrial retail prices to skyrocket in the LA Basin and Inland Empire. As the US economy continues to grow, the volume of containers reaches tremendous levels, adding even more pressure to the ports to reduce congestion. Per the Journal of Commerce, “More than 32 percent of import containers at LA-Long Beach was transloaded into domestic rail containers last year, up from 31.7 percent in 2012, 28.4 percent in 2010 and 20.7 percent in 2006, according to data provided by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. They predict the share will rise further, to 33.2 percent this year.”

Shippers choose to transload because, depending on the cargo’s characteristics, they gain better economies from 53-foot domestic containers versus standard marine 40-footers. They can also take control of goods earlier upon arrival in North America. However, transloading requires real estate for cross-dock facilities and drayage to move containers from the port to transload facilities. Many of the current cross-dock facilities do not have spare capacity for new customers.

One of the reasons drayage is under pressure is due to ocean carriers no longer providing chassis for containers in most cases. This has forced truckers to make multiple stops at different terminals to pick up or drop off chassis, resulting in a reduction of productivity. One solution addressing this inefficiency is IAS’ ChassisManager application that provides visibility and accurate re-assignment of liability and costs for chassis in “street-turns.” A Street-turn is the re-use of assets that enables intermodal companies to reduce empty mileage, cut fuel costs and emissions, and decrease congestion.

How Much Does a Chassis Cost? The Math of Chassis Economics

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

Debate exists on whether the new chassis-provisioning model has simply shifted the cost of chassis usage to different industry players or if it has increased costs for most participants in the different pools as a result of new process implications.  In the USA, ocean carriers have traditionally provided chassis at no direct charge to trucking companies or shippers/consignees to move containers to and from the ocean carriers’ customers. The ocean carriers formed “pools” to share the chassis and manage usage of the chassis by the trucking companies in some busy port and inland rail terminal locations.

This is contrasted with outside the USA where the trucking companies typically own or procure and manage the chassis themselves. Several years ago Maersk announced its decision to end its ownership (and “free” provisioning) of chassis and, in 2012, the company had indeed divested those assets (sold them to leasing companies). On the heels of the Maersk decision other ocean carriers announced similar plans to discontinue managing and providing chassis, forcing truckers to either purchase chassis or lease them from equipment providers.

This, however, did not mean that the ocean carriers were no longer responsible for the cost of the chassis. As the ocean carriers sold their chassis, the large asset pooling arrangements took over the responsibility of providing chassis to the logistics community, apportioning cost according to the terms of each container move– either the cargo interest, the trucking company or the ocean carrier pays for the chassis.

IAS created ChassisManager to address this issue. John Allen of IAS will be discussing this issue at the upcoming IANA Show on September 22 – 23, 2014. Attendees at this presentation will be provided a compelling look at the true costs of chassis operations in the new chassis market and learn how this can be a new revenue source for many intermodal operators.

IAS provides a very proactive billing platform that receives the relevant gate activity, which drives usage billing along with the data from the ocean carriers on how to direct the billing (who pays). We make this information available to all billable parties in real time, so the party paying (motor and ocean carriers) get the most accurate invoice and complete back-up info possible.

Chassis – account management

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

When registering for ChassisManager, you provide details such as your billing address, users, and insurance information. ChassisManager makes it easy to maintain and update this information any time.

To sign up for ChassisManager, you need to provide a billing address. This information can be updated by going to Admin > Company Profile > Company Information. You have the option to enter separate billing and service addresses, or you can check the box to make them the same. The billing address is what will be displayed on your invoices.

1 company info

Each equipment provider has different insurance requirements. Click on Insurance Information to see these and enter your own insurance details. The numbers at the top of this window are your own details, and you should fill them out with the appropriate information. Below are the requirements of the various equipment providers. If your limits are sufficient to meet the equipment provider’s requirements, they will turn green. If not, they will be red. Once all requirements are green, you have met the requirements to start renting chassis.

You also need to upload a copy of your insurance certificate and keep it updated. Check the box of your desired equipment provider and click Upload Insurance Certificate. Then select your your file and click Attach to save it. If your certificate expires, simply click Upload again and choose your new certificate.

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The Company Profile screen also includes the Terms & Conditions for all equipment providers. When first registering, go here and click View to read the T&C and then click Accept to submit your registration. If you wish to review the T&C at any time, you can return to this screen and click View.

3 t and c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another essential feature of account administration is user management. Go to Admin > Users to see all current users for your company. Select a user and click on the Actions box to update their role or to activate or suspend their account. A detailed explanation of each user role can be found on the IAS Support Portal. Your account needs at least one Admin, but you can restrict other users to specific functions if you desire.

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To register a new user, go to the ChassisManager login page and click Register. Fill in some basic details and you will receive an email with your temporary password. Once you log in, you will be presented with the company type options. Select service ChassisManager and company type Motor Carrier, then enter your company’s SCAC.

5 company type

If your SCAC is already registered, you will be asked to confirm your company name. Click Confirm to join the existing account.

6 company type confirm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new user will appear under Admin > Users. The account must be approved by an Admin before the user can view data. To approve the user, select their name and click Activate. You will be presented with the user role window, so just select your desired role and click Save. If you do not recognize the new user, click Reject instead. You can always return here to change their role or to disable their account.

7 approve user

Each user has their own profile. Go to Help > My Profile to change details such as your name, job title, or password. Since your account is dependent upon your organization and email these details cannot be changed, but you can always deactivate an account and create a new one if need be.

Chassis University – invoices

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

Now that you are comfortable with the activity that takes place in the ChassisManager Pre-invoice stage, you are ready to address invoicing. Because you have already verified the rental data during the review process, the invoice will be ready for approval and payment as soon as it is issued.

ChassisManager allows you to manage multiple equipment providers, so if you are connected to both HRCP and NYK, you can easily access both from a single account. You can filter by Equipment Provider Name in the Trip Viewer or view invoice information for either partner by selecting that account in the Billing menu. As the number of ChassisManager equipment providers grows, the ease with which you access your rental data remains the same.

The account administrator will receive a copy of each new invoice via email. However, you can also view and download copies of all past invoices directly in ChassisManager. Go to Billing > Equipment Provider > Account Summary to see an overview of your billing information. You can manipulate the columns in the Invoices, Payments, and Adjustments tabs just like any other ChassisManager data grid. In the Download column, clicking the magnifying glass icon will open the invoice in a new tab and the arrow icon will download a PDF version of your bill. You can also search invoices by status by going to Billing > Equipment Provider > Search Invoices and select Status equals OPEN (unpaid or partially paid) or CLOSED (paid in full). The view provided is similar to that on the Invoices tab of the Account Summary screen.

account summary and search

On each invoice, the front page gives key reference information such as invoice number, account number, and current charges as well as a remittance slip for payments. The following pages provide details on the chassis usage within the chassis rental period, applied taxes, credits, and payments. The detail will match the information on the front page Statement of Account Summary.

page 1

page 2

To make a payment on any OPEN invoice: check the box next to the invoice, click the Make a Payment button, enter the amount, click Save, and confirm. Your payment will be submitted and the invoice, if paid in full, will close. It is that easy.

For an in-depth look at each element of a ChassisManager invoice, please visit the IAS Support Portal.

Chassis University – reviewing rental data

Posted on: August 28th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

For all rentals where you are the bill-to-party, you should review trip data while the chassis rentals are in Pre-invoice status. Once a rental is Closed, it cannot be disputed. ChassisManager features a flagging capability that allows you to hide reviewed rentals from your view, so it is easy to instantly tell what you have already looked over. While reviewing has no impact on billing, it does keep you organized and helps avoid reworking a trip you have already verified.

To review your rentals, go to Rental > Manage > Trips and select Unreviewed as your view. Customize the grid to your preferences, being sure to display Charges and Billed Party SCAC columns. If you approve of the charges on a trip, check the box at the far left of the row. Clicking the Review icon (green check mark) will hide will hide those trips from your view. You can always see them again in the Reviewed Pre-invoice view. Regularly review your Pre-invoice rentals in order to dispute any issues within the necessary timeframe.

Review

You should submit a dispute if, for example, you were charged an incorrect amount or you returned the chassis but the rental is still listed as open. Regular reviewing ensures that when you receive your official invoice, you have already validated the charges.

If you identify an issue during your Pre-invoice review, check the box next to the trip and click the Dispute button. In the new window, select a Dispute Category that reflects the nature of the discrepancy. Provide details in the comments section and attach any supporting documentation. When you are finished, click the Dispute button. The equipment provider will now be able to review the dispute and issue a credit or adjustment as appropriate.

dispute

Disputed rentals are colored red in the data grid and include a complete record of the dispute, including comments and uploaded files. To see a full list of your disputed rentals, return to the Manage > Trips screen and select In Dispute Rentals from the View dropdown menu. If for some reason you don’t see the rental you disputed, check its status by searching for the rental number. You may dispute multiple trips on a single rental.

Once the dispute is either accepted or rejected, your rental will return to Pre-Invoice status. If your dispute is accepted and requires a credit, the equipment provider will adjust the days out. To view adjusted days, Go to Rentals > Search > Trips and select Adjustment is greater than or equal to 1. Your adjusted days appear next to the trip days in the trip viewer. The charges in the trip viewer will reflect the adjustment and your invoice will show the corrected information.

Chassis University – monitoring on-hire chassis

Posted on: August 21st, 2013 by The IAS Team 1 Comment

As background for understanding chassis rental management, let’s discuss the difference in a rental and a trip within ChassisManager. When a motor carrier pulls a chassis from a designated start/stop facility, the rental starts, as does the first trip of that rental. When the chassis is returned, the trip ends. If the chassis is not pulled out of the facility by that same motor carrier on that same day, the rental ends as well. If however, the chassis is pulled back out the same day the first trip ends, by the same motor carrier, the second trip begins under the same rental number. There can be many trips on one rental. Until the rented chassis remains at the facility without being withdrawn by that same motor carrier, the status for the rental remains Open. If a rental has multiple trips and is in Open status that means the last trip is still Open even if other trips on that rental have been completed.

ChassisManager rental lifecycle

If you are looking at Open rentals in the trip viewer, you might see a mix of trips with and without gate-in events. To zero in on just unreturned trips, go to Rental > Search > Trips and input Rental Status equals Open and Return Location is null; then click Search. With those search criteria set, the grid will display only the unreturned trips on any Open rentals (i.e. the last trip on the rental).  Sorting by Trip Duration will show the trips you are currently responsible for, ordered by potential charges.

open rental management

Monitoring Open rentals can help catch data inaccuracies ahead of the invoice, thus precluding account adjustments. For example, if for some reason the final gate-in event that would end the rental is missing or sent incorrectly, then the rental will remain Open and get invoiced as a rolling rental. If you find an unreturned trip that should show as completed, for example, you returned the chassis yesterday but it doesn’t have a return date, please contact IAS support and we will help you resolve the issue.

An important reminder: rentals do not switch from Open status to Pre-invoice status until after midnight on the day the chassis is returned. If you return a chassis at 9am and then review trips in ChassisManager at 3pm, you may be concerned that this rental still shows as Open. If you see that the last trip has a return date, then rest assured that the change in status will be reflected the next business day.

We will pick up this thread in the next post by sharing the appropriate steps for reviewing rentals in Pre-invoice status and disputing any erroneous trips you may find.

Chassis University – custom view workshop

Posted on: August 14th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

As discussed in last week’s post, custom views are a powerful utility in ChassisManager that allow you to save frequently used filters, column ordering, sorts and groupings for any number of purposes. Please read that post, as the tools described there are pre-requisites for this workshop.

Today, we would like to share a custom view that motor carriers may utilize to monitor assets currently in their control.  This view is also useful in forecasting month-to-month or week-to-week spend on chassis rentals and gives the motor carrier the ability to identify re-bill opportunities in advance of receiving a chassis invoice.

Go to Rental > Manage > Trips to get to the trip viewer. Select OPEN from the View dropdown menu; this grid shows a broad view of all your trips where the rental status is Open. Right click any of the column header labels to bring up the options menu and click Columns.

columns for equipment control

Select the following columns:

  • Rental start date - date your company pulled the asset from the pool and started to use it
  • Rental number - number for tracking your transaction and for service request references
  • Container number - container that the start/stop facility reported was tied to the chassis for the given trip
  • Trip number - a rental may be comprised of one or many trips; each trip on a rental is given a number so you can determine the order and sequence in which you pulled different containers with the chassis
  • Pickup date - date and time the trip started as identified by a gate out event at a start/stop facility
  • Return date - date and time the trip completed as identified by an in gate event at a start/stop facility
  • Pickup location - start/stop facility where the trip started with the gate out
  • Return location - start/stop facility where the trip ended with the gate in
  • Bill of lading - bill of lading number reported by the start/stop facility at the gate out on the trip
  • Booking number - booking number reported by the start/stop facility at the gate out on the trip
  • Haulage type - indicates whether the trip has been identified by an ocean carrier as Carrier Haul (CH) or Empty Reposition (MT); if no haulage type is provided by an ocean carrier, the default value is Merchant Haul (MH)
  • Shipping SCAC - SCAC of the ocean carrier responsible for the box as reported by the start/stop facility at the gate out event
  • Trip duration - number of days on the trip; if you gate out a unit on day 1 and return it on day 1, your days out is 1, regardless of the duration of the usage

Right click in the Rental Number column and select Sort Ascending to display oldest trips on the top of the list. Now right click the Rental Number column header and select Group by. Right click the Trip Number column header and select Sort Ascending to order the trips within each rental. Click the refresh icon (circular arrows) to update the data.

sort group equipment control

To view the trip detail under each rental, simply expand the rental by clicking on the plus button to the left of the rental number. Further customize the view as desired and save it by selecting Save As on the View menu and naming it Equipment Control. This ensures that your custom view will be readily available without the need to repeat these steps each time you use the trip viewer.

navigate equipment control

trip count

So, what does the Equipment Control View tell you? The first high-level number you should note is the count on the Trip tab. In this example, we can quickly see that currently our organization is in possession of 244 chassis from our equipment provider; this number helps you understand your potential financial exposure. By reviewing the individual trips within these rentals you can also quickly determine:

  • How many days a particular unit has been on hire: compare the rental start date to today
  • Rental cost in order to re-bill your customer: for completed trips with a return date/time, multiply the trip days times the day rate and use the haulage type and the BN/BOL number to determine who the re-bill customer is
  • If the system correctly reflects your on-hire units: if you find a trip (and rental) that is not legitimately open, you may contact IAS Chassis Client Services and provide a TIR to show proof of return of the unit and receive an adjustment to your account statement

export to csvFor more detailed analysis, it is easy to export your Equipment Control View to a .csv file that can be manipulated in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. To export your view, click the arrow on the toolbar.

When you open the file you’ll have a “flattened” view of your trip data as if you had not grouped by Rental Number in the process above. If you plan to use the Equipment Control View in Excel, adding the following formulas will provide meaningful metrics:

  • In Excel you can write the formula “=today()-Rental Start Date” in a new column to calculate the total days out for the rental. Averaging these calculations will provide average days out for the units in your possession.
  • Trips are not rated until they enter Pre-invoice status. However you can use Excel to estimate your potential spend based on the day rate charged by adding a new column with the formula =Trip Duration * the day rate. The sum of these calculations estimates your financial exposure for on-the-road chassis.

For extended directions on using Excel with ChassisManager, please visit the IAS Support Portal.