Digital Edition

July 3, 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 42 of 55

July 3, 2023 | Journal of Commerce 43 Beyond the Docks: Special Report From Inland Ports to Transloading CHASSIS PROVIDERS IN the United States are using the current lull in import volume and international intermodal traffic to fix the oldest, least-reliable equipment in their fleets in a massive undertaking that will take many years. Although lessors refurbished some chassis over the last three years, overwhelming demand kept many units in operation day after day, week after week, leaving little time to take equipment out of ser- vice for rehabilitation. Now, with US imports down by double-digit percentages in the first five months of May, according to PIERS, a sister product of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global, chassis lessors are taking the opportunity to overhaul their fleets. "There is enough capacity for new builds to meet our aggregate demand," Than Seeds, chief oper- ating officer of Flexi-Van, told the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference on June 12. "And when you combine that with ramping up refurbish- ment programs while demand is off, I think the quality of the asset is going to continue to improve." When older units begin to break down, chassis providers are faced with a choice: either refurbish those chassis — i.e., strip them down to their bare bones, fix any issues with the steel and replace all the com- ponents with new ones — or order new units. in domestic containers, compared with only 23% of cargo originating in Western Canada, according to IANA. Gaining momentum Calgary is a natural location for a new transload hub because of its rail links, close proximity to the Trans-Canada and CANAMEX highways connecting to major pop- ulation centers and proximity to the Alberta oil sands to the north. Not only do Canadian companies have distribution centers in Calgary, but so do household names in the US such as Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes and Staples, among others. The new Calgary project is the latest to build out logistics space for Canadian transloading. The Ashcroft Terminal, located about 211 miles northeast of Vancouver, opened last year and is being utilized by compa- nies such as Canadian Tire. CP and CN run trains to Ashcroft, though CP is the only railroad that moves containers into the terminal. A project to build a transload facility on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert cleared an environmental hurdle in early March; construction is due to begin before the end of this year. When completed, bulk exports could be railed into Ridley Island in 53-foot containers and transloaded onto bulk vessels. Imports arriving in Prince Rupert can then be trans- loaded into the same 53-foot boxes to move inland. A major goal of the transload facil- ities across Canada is to get cargo out of ocean containers faster. Imports into Vancouver and Prince Rupert can travel into the US heartland to cities such as Memphis, Tenn., tying up ocean containers for several weeks. Transloading may also be a point of emphasis in the newly approved CPKC railroad because intermodal trains can connect Canadian ports to Mississippi and Louisiana. JOC email: twitter: @arijashe "There is enough capacity for new builds to meet our aggregate demand." Fleet faceli Chassis providers rehabbing equipment as costs for new units remain elevated By Ari Ashe

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - July 3, 2023