Archive for the ‘Ports’ Category

Freight Regulation Update 2016 – Rules Under Review

Posted on: February 29th, 2016 by The IAS Team No Comments

The transportation industry will see a record number, close to 22, new regulations between 2017 and 2019. These regulations include everything from e-logging mandates to limiting driver hours to keeping trucks below 68 MPH. Trucking companies need to be ready for these regulations, which have the potential to worsen the capacity crisis, increase transportation rates and lower carrier productivity.

Three of the latest regulations imposed on the trucking industry are quite restrictive, including the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, and the hours of service (HOS) regulation.

The CSA initiative was designed to ensure carrier compliance with all regulations by providing a safety performance score for carriers so that shippers could see which carriers are more reliable. However, under a five-year highway bill unveiled Dec. 1, federal trucking regulators would be required to remove certain safety performance scores for motor carriers from public view until the scoring program is reformed. The reform came about because many of the previous performance scores were not accurate. Trucking companies need to keep accurate records of their performance because the initiative could be reinstated, or at least some version of it.

The ELD mandate, which was passed in December 2015 and will become effective in December 2017, has met some resistance. Many large carriers already use ELDs to cut down on administrative time and costs, but small and medium sized carriers believe the regulation will cost them 5 to 8 percent in lost productivity and revenues. The ELD rule was initiated so that the hours of service were logged correctly. Implementing ELDs not only involves purchasing the equipment but also creating internal processes to manage information. This can lead to decreased efficiencies and higher shipping costs.

The HOS regulation has seen many changes since it was first enacted. The new 34-hour restart has created controversy. While it was initially instituted because of driver fatigue and fatality rates, it hinders driver productivity and pay. Safety advocates say it is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough. Truck drivers say it is an over reaction and keeps them away from home longer than necessary. It is important to keep truckers moving, while improving pay, so that new drivers will enter the market, hopefully lessening the truck driver shortage.

Finally, in July of this year, a new international rule will come into effect that states that shipping lines must receive verified weights for loaded cargo containers before those containers can be placed on ships.  Full-container and less-than-container shipping weights will need to be verified, not estimated, and provided to the shipping line so that the container weights can be factored into the vessel load plans. 

Motor carriers need to keep up with these ever-changing rules and regulations. To keep more efficient, lower operating costs and improve productivity, trucking companies and shippers can turn to International Assets Systems (IAS) to help speed and improve their dispatch processes. IAS provides greater visibility throughout your supply chain, increases booking fulfillment and reduces equipment, transportation and operational costs.

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.