5 Benefits of the Single-Provider
Neutral Chassis Pools for
the Intermodal Community
There are many different types of intermodal chassis pools in the U.S., which help companies transport cargo containers from a port, rail facility or other location to a final destination. Every region has unique characteristics depending on the type of port, area of the country, and what the needs of the intermodal community are in that area, resulting in a variety of solutions from single-provider pools to trucker-owned wheels to co-op pools to a pool-of-pools model.
While TRAC participates in all chassis provisioning models, there are many characteristics of the single-provider chassis pools that we believe make this solution especially beneficial to chassis users across the board. Below are 5 key benefits of the Single-Provider/Neutral Chassis Pool Model for the intermodal community.
About The Single-Provider Chassis Pool
Single-provider pools (also known as neutral pools), in which a chassis provider offers daily rental of its equipment to shippers or motor carriers, is one of the most common chassis provisioning systems. In this pool model, each chassis provider has full control of their assets: they manage the fleet and are responsible for any maintenance or repairs that may be required. You are most likely to find single-provider pools in the Northeast, West, Gulf and Midwest regions of the country, serving ports such as the Port of NY-NJ, Port of Houston, or rail terminals in Memphis, Chicago, or Dallas, to name a few.
As each chassis provider is responsible for their own equipment, they are incentivized to provide customers with safer and higher quality chassis than their competitors to help secure customers and gain market share. Since 2015, TRAC has invested over $450 million in modernizing its fleet with premium equipment, upgrading older chassis to like-new condition by adding new axles, new brake components, LED lights and other improvements. TRAC’s M&R program streamlines chassis maintenance and repairs to ensure safe, reliable, high-quality equipment.
Through their neutral pools, chassis providers actively compete with one another to provide customers with the best products at a reasonable cost. Each provider seeks to service their customers by offering them high-quality equipment, greater choice among equipment options and features, better access to these offerings and a more streamlined, efficient experience for chassis pick-ups and drop-offs.
A good example is the Port of NY/NJ, one of the nation’s busiest ports, where TRAC implemented various quality-focused initiatives, from fleet upgrades to efficient maintenance and repair processes, to operational improvements and technological innovations. Despite an 11.3% increase in cargo volume between 2017 and 2019, compounded by unprecedented volumes in the second half of 2020, the chassis system was able to maintain a smooth cargo flow, with little to no disruptions.
You can learn more about TRAC’s chassis pool at the Port of NY-NJ by downloading our case study: Port of NY/NJ Chassis Pool Model Success in the Face of Record Cargo Growth
As chassis providers continue to enhance technology and business approaches to gain an edge, innovation is key to responding to changing market needs and business demand. These enhancements may involve new equipment, business processes and customized solutions. As an example, to provide the best quality and a competitive product, TRAC Intermodal recently converted its TRAC Tire Services division to exclusively serve the company’s marine chassis fleet. The division, in partnership with tire maker Goodyear, provides tire retreading solutions for TRAC’s fleet utilizing a proprietary compounded intermodal rubber to improve performance and minimize tread-wear.
Recent events have proven that the global supply chain is undergoing a transformation in response to changing consumer needs. Trade fluctuations due to the COVID-19 pandemic further amplified the need for agile expedited solutions. To respond to these changing demands in the global supply chain, TRAC was able to create dedicated private pools to support ZIM and CMA and provide them with customized offerings and streamlined cargo flow. Thanks to TRAC’s focus on agility and innovation, these solutions were created in just a few weeks.
The complete control of assets and solutions gives chassis providers the ability to implement customized fleet quality and optimization programs based on various market needs. Better inspections, grading, classifications and targeted chassis rotation help TRAC minimize exposure to terminal roadability and road service events, while TRAC’s fleet optimization program helps allocate equipment where it’s needed most through volume forecasting, fleet sizing, utilization and a safety stock strategy. Both strategies result in increased chassis availability and reliability while contributing to greater motor carrier efficiency for chassis pick-up and drop-offs.
Intermodal markets, which favor a neutral pool model, provide motor carriers with a greater choice between a leasing/ownership arrangement and the chassis provider pool and solutions that work best for their needs. We believe that any limitations in interoperability are offset by efficiencies gained from optimizing chassis operations as each chassis provider is able to perfect in their chassis provisioning solutions.
As a specialist in offering single-provider pools, TRAC provides motor carries, BCOs, ocean carriers and others with attractive solutions that make it a compelling choice for customers. Chassis users benefit in a wide variety of ways: access to safe, high-quality equipment; peace of mind with reliable repair and support services; innovative business solutions; and efficiencies to streamline their operations.
Visit our Marine Pools web page to learn more about TRAC’s neutral pools.
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