Friday, May 2, 2014

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Port of Charleston cargo surge causes chassis shortage

Increased cargo volume at the Port of Charleston has resulted in a dearth of the trailers that truckers need to haul shipping containers.

The shortfall has been blamed for some shipment delays at the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant and North Charleston Terminal.

The State Ports Authority said it's investigating complaints about the availability of usable chassis.

"We are investigating the truckers' recent comments that damaged chassis are not being repaired in a timely manner, causing delays for truckers while chassis are repaired," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SPA.

A few years ago, shipping lines such as Maersk sold off their chassis businesses to save money. Consequently, the pooled equipment is now maintained by third-party groups, which replace worn tires and brakes and burned-out lights.

"Ultimately, the chassis pool operator, who in this instance is Consolidated Chassis Management, bears the responsibility for the management of chassis repairs," Newsome said. "If we find these comments to have merit, we will not accept this practice and we will seek prompt corrective action."

Phil Wojcik, president and CEO of Consolidated Chassis, said the company is taking steps to resolve the problems, including adding mechanics, employing vendors on overtime to catch up with repairs, streamlining the repair approval process, and removing damaged chassis from local port terminals.

Wojcik said the problems at Charleston area terminals are due in part to cargo growth.

For more of the Post and Courier story:

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