Draymen Face chassis shortage in NY, NJ

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Chris Dupin
The Port of New York and New Jersey is being severely impacted by a shortage of chassis needed to deliver and pick up containers at marine terminals, according to drayage companies and forwarders/custom house brokers.
“There are no chassis available in the Port of New York,” said Jeff Bader, the president of Golden Carriers and president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, a group that represents port truckers.
“Everyone’s hoarding chassis, which they have to do in order to do their business. We're not going into a terminal unless we have a chassis to make a pick-up,” he said.
“I'm getting calls from people I haven't gotten calls from in years, asking me for help to move freight. It's the perfect storm as they keep saying. There's not enough chassis, not enough labor. Everyone that's available to work is working. And if I had 10 more trucks, we'd put them on, too."
The port, like others around the country, has been severely impacted by winter weather and a dispute with the Waterfront Commission for New York Harbor about the hiring of additional workers, including workers who repair and maintain chassis.
Steve Schulein, a director at National Retail Systems, said that at a meeting of the bi-state association, “the majority of the truckers there were really up in arms about the condition and the lack of chassis."
He said representatives from two chassis leasing companies at the meeting said there was a shortage of equipment and said they are making an effort to re-position chassis, but that there is a lack of maintenance workers to repair the equipment.
Schulein said there has been an improvement in the turn times at terminals, where most drivers are able to get in and out of the terminals in about four or four-and-a-half hours, including waiting time outside of the terminal. Some are able to make a turn in three hours, whereas last month, some truckers were reportedly waiting much longer.
“The chassis, in a nutshell, are one of the biggest issues we have,” he said.
Charles Riley, vice president at Steer Company and president of the New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association, said the shortage “does have a big effect” on importers, as some truckers are only able to get one move in a day at the terminals.

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