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CIEM chassis begin rollout at new Virginia plant

CIE Manufacturing (CIEM) this week has started rolling out the first container chassis from its new manufacturing plant at Emporia, Virginia.

The South Gate, California-based company, formerly CIMC Intermodal Equipment, began setting up its Virginia chassis manufacturing facility in July. The production site encompasses 43 acres about 70 miles west of the Port of Virginia at Hampton Roads.

“Our plans for this entire manufacturing complex are quite extensive and surely will allow our brand to serve the East Coast north and south efficiently and effectively for many years to come,” said Frank Sonzala, president and CEO of CIEM, in a statement.

Aerial view of CIE Manufacturing new chassis production facility at Emporia, Virginia (Photo: CIE Manufacturing)

The company will at first manufacture chassis capable of transporting 40-foot and 40/45-foot intermodal containers at the Virginia plant. The first East Coast customers for these chassis include Milestone Leasing and TRAC Intermodal.

“Moving forward we will be able to offer chassis to any customer that is best served by the faster lead times and lower transportation costs of the East Coast location,” Missy Pinksaw, CIEM’s director of corporate marketing, told American Shipper.

The North American Pioneer Chassis line will be offered to leasing and trucking companies with five-, seven- and 10-year warranty options.

CIEM’s California manufacturing location has also been expanded this year and its second phase of chassis production will commence in mid-November.

“Right now is a crucial time for the intermodal industry as the state of intermodal container chassis pools and fleets are coming to a crucial breaking point with the rebound of cargo transportation in the fourth quarter of 2020,” Pinksaw said.

She pointed to the current chassis shortages at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where notices are sent out daily to truckers advising them to bring their own chassis with the level of in-use available chassis shrinking and causing extensive delays due to the rebound in container volumes.

Pinksaw also said chassis leasing companies and pool operators are looking to replace aging assets in their fleets. “This can be seen most noticeably at the Port of Virginia, where they are undergoing a massive chassis fleet renewal,” she said.

Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.