Chassis Pools:  A Brief Background

The method in which chassis are provided in the United States as compared to other countries is very different. The typical model used outside the United States was based upon chassis being owned and operated by the motor carrier. In the US, as part of their service offering, shipping lines developed a different approach where they provided chassis to motor carriers to move containers over the road. In the early 1990’s ocean carriers looked for ways to operate their chassis more efficiently, resulting in “Chassis pooling”. Chassis pooling allowed for the lines to share their chassis and improve the efficiency of the supply chain.

Prior to CCM’s inception, shipping lines typically had their own chassis to put under their own containers. As such, there were many different operating theories and was a disjointed approach to chassis provisioning in the United States.

Chassis pooling evolved into many forms over the next 15 years, including terminal pools, alliance pools, and interoperable pools. In 2005 the ocean carriers, under OCEMA, decided to take a more holistic approach to chassis pooling and created CCM to be the manager of their interoperable chassis pools.

It was realized through pooling, chassis could be operated at a 25% less asset base than what had originally been in place for moving cargo containers. There were operational synergies gained through a more efficiently run chassis operation materializing in a reduced carbon footprint As lines began to divest themselves of their chassis selling them to leasing companies, ocean carriers began to shift away from providing chassis for their shipments, making way for new models. And as ocean carriers further disengaged from chassis, the Shipper/motor carrier became increasingly responsible for providing chassis.

Chassis pools enable intermodal participants including ocean carriers, motor carriers, leasing companies, shippers, and more to access container chassis under one focused management at the lowest possible cost. In CCM pool models, where pools are modeled after interoperability, anytime a container comes off a train or a ship, it can use any chassis available in the network and motor carriers have the option of using that chassis freely within the network.

Chassis models in the US

Daily Rental model

  • Chassis customers pay for the day; a customer can take the equipment out as long as they want and will be charged for the usage accordingly
  • This arrangement work for motor carriers looking to rent a chassis on a short-term/daily basis, many work with pools as well as directly with leasing companies.
  • One example of this model would be using to lease chassis by the day

Cooperative/Interoperable pools (*current CCM Pool model)

  • Chassis contributors provide chassis within a pool
  • These pools are typically managed by an entity and the pool manager charges contributors on a cost pass through basis
  • Open contribution in these pools can allow various parties to contribute chassis including but not limited to ocean carriers, motor carriers, and BCOs
    • Ocean carriers, motor carriers, BCOs, and other entities can access pool units by contributing chassis to the pool and using pool chassis, or access pool chassis under an existing contributor
  • Chassis in the pool regardless of branding on the side of the chassis, all are “gray” and a motor carrier can use that chassis for any box and return to any locations within that regional network

Neutral Pool or Dedicated Pool

  • Typically a single equipment provider will set the price, network, and operational rules
  • Difference between neutral and dedicated:
    • Neutral; only party allowed on terminals, no one else is allowed but a single chassis provider
    • Dedicated; premium service where a leasing company will setup a dedicated fleet only to be used for that purpose

Direct Lease Operation/Purchase/Longer term rental—without using a pool

  • A user contracts directly with the leasing company through either a lease or purchase
    • A motor carrier may choose to operate independently of the pools and lease a chassis directly from a chassis leasing company
  • Calendar period contract where one pays everyday for length of contract
  • Typically the user will handle the maintenance and be responsible for storage

CCM’s Chassis Pools

CCM Pools are managed to operate the most efficient and effective chassis models for all stakeholders through the following principles:

Fully Interoperable – following a fully interoperable fleet management philosophy driving maximum efficiency.
Service Quality – providing Safe and Reliable Chassis to get the job done
Availability– having the right chassis in the right place at the right time
Flexibility – providing assets across a wide network of operating facilities
Operational Efficiency– focused, reliable and consistent process execution across the network
Environmental Sustainability – best operational efficiency driving the lowest carbon footprint
Focused Management – via a single point of contact, providing objective business execution and impartial decision making

Chassis Pool Benefits:

“Maximize availability, utilization and value”
“Minimize redundancy, congestion and waste”

Terminals: are able to reclaim scarce acreage by reducing the number of chassis stored

Motor Carriers: are able to transit a terminal more quickly, while obtaining a well-maintained piece of equipment

Ocean Carriers: customers benefit from a more consistent and reliable equipment supply

By utilizing chassis from CCM Pools you can access chassis under one focused management at the lowest possible cost. A pool enables operating savings to be achieved by:

  • Reducing the combined inventory levels
  • M&R economies of scale
  • Reduced repo expense through pool members’ synergies

Service and equipment availability are core values at CCM. CCM understands the impact that a lack of chassis availability can have on all parties in the supply chain as well as the related operational costs. CCM works closely with its terminal partners and members to forecast volumes and ensure that equipment is available to efficiently handle bookings and manage terminal fluidity. CCM’s track record on service over the years has been impeccable due to their focus on equipment availability.

CCM Quality

  • Heavy focus on hiring experienced maintenance and repair inspectors
  • Extensive training of associates
  • All M&R inspectors are IICL certified (either hired or certified shortly thereafter)
  • Strict adherence to FMCSA repair guidelines
  • Annual preventive maintenance inspection
  • Systematic full chassis inspections occur at time of each repair
  • Premium maintenance system that tracks and monitors all repair related events
  • Frequent audits of vendors to include their service vehicles, tools, work space, and certifications
  • Extensive vendor auditing(pre/post) and annual vendor recognition awards and events
  • Active partner in designing the latest in chassis parts with major manufacturers
  • Active members and committee participants in both IANA and CVSA

Interoperability in Chassis Pools

The beginnings of interoperability

15 years ago, CCM was created by the ocean carriers equipment management association (OCEMA) to manage chassis on behalf of ocean carriers and drive momentum synergies into the chassis operation. Prior to CCM’s inception, every line had their own chassis to put under their own containers. There were many different operating theories – it was a disjointed approach

CCM was designed to be a collaborator and bring stakeholders together into a network to ensure all stakeholders were given an opportunity to operate in an efficient way. It allowed for a chassis fleet to exist in numerous parts of the country where anytime a container comes off a train or ship, it can use any chassis available in the network and motor carriers have the option of using that chassis freely within the network. It was realized through pooling, chassis could be operated at a 25% less asset base than what had originally been in place for moving cargo containers and in addition to savings relative to the overall fleet size, there were operational synergies to be gained

Taken to the next level, those synergies lead to more efficiently run chassis operations, materializing in a reduced carbon footprint. These were the beginnings of what we refer to today as the interoperable chassis pool network.

CCM defines Interoperability of chassis as when the motor carrier may select any chassis within the pool network, regardless of the chassis owner/branding on the side of the chassis, to transport any shipping container within the pool network.

Degrees of Interoperability within the Chassis Pool

Partially Inoperable

Chassis Pool FAQs

The Pool is the Intermodal Equipment Provider of record responsible for the condition of the chassis in the fleet.

The Pool will reimburse Users for normal wear & tear or component failure when not due to negligence of the chassis user. Please refer to the CCM Over the Road Policy posted on the CCM website.  The motor carrier operating a chassis is subject to the terms of its interchange agreement with the Pool User.

For convenience of identifying pool chassis on a terminal, four digit markings of the pool are stenciled on the chassis bolsters and side rails. Each stencil represents a pool.

MWCP = Midwest Consolidated Chassis Pool
MCCP = Mid South Consolidated Chassis Pool
DCCP = Denver Consolidated Chassis Pool
SERP or SATL or SACP = South Atlantic Consolidated Chassis Pool

In the DCCP, MCCP and MWCP, The Pool interchanges to its members, the Pool Users. The Users interchange to motor carriers.

In the SACP 3.0 The Pool interchanges directly with motor carriers. 

Oaktree Capital Management

Yes. Specialized chassis, for example tri-axles, can be managed in the Pool. Those chassis are not co-mingled in the Pool. The M&R costs on special chassis are passed directly to the contributor.

Many of the Pool forms and agreements are on the CCM web page under the Resources. For additional information please contact any of our pool offices or the contacts listed on our Contact page.