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Intermodal Summit: Managing chassis pools in a chaotic market

‘This peak season just keeps going’

FreightWaves’ Kevin Hill and DCLI's Mike O’Malley at the Intermodal Summit. (Photo: FreightWaves)

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: The future of chassis pools

DETAILS: A discussion on port congestion and the impact on the chassis management process.

INTERVIEWER AND SPEAKER: Kevin Hill, executive publisher at FreightWaves, and Mike O’Malley, SVP, government and public relations at Direct ChassisLink Inc. (DCLI)

BIO: O’Malley is DCLI’s primary point of contact with external stakeholders such as regulators, legislators, trade groups and the media.

His career includes more than two decades in public affairs, transportation and supply chain-related leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation and CSX Corp. (NASDAQ: CSX). O’Malley most recently served as president of the Railway Supply Institute (RSI), a trade association representing more than 200 manufacturers and service providers to the nation’s railroads.


On equipment dwell times: “Let’s take Memphis for example. We had a little over 2,000 chassis on the street pre-COVID. We’ve now got close to 5,000. We also are dealing with customers holding on to them for eight days instead of four. What happens, it effectively cuts your fleet in half.”

On anti-dumping legal actions and the impact on chassis manufacturing: “China used to be the largest source for chassis and that essentially has been shut down by this dumping case. The U.S. manufacturers have started to ramp up, but they really didn’t do that until the springtime when the case was nearing its completion. So, you have a pretty long period of time where there wasn’t much production going on, when demand was kind of going through the roof.”

On side underride guard mandates: “It’s really targeted toward your 18-wheeler. But if it was mandated on chassis, you could no longer stack them and that would mean you couldn’t stack them in marine terminals, which tend to be pretty high value from a real estate perspective. And you also couldn’t stack them to move them between different locations. That would create a real problem for us. We’ve been trying to make sure that people in Congress and in the administration understand the potential downside.”

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.