Navigating an Industry at the Crossroads
by Merrill Douglas
In an industry currently challenged by port congestion and equipment shortages, Mike Wilson focuses Consolidated Chassis Management on technology and innovation, and leads with empathy and an open mind.
When Mike Wilson joined Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM) as its CEO in 2019, the chassis provision industry was in the midst of profound change.
The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association had formed CCM in 2005 to operate a chassis pool, using equipment owned by the shipping lines. But in recent years, the lines have been selling off their equipment to third parties. By the time Wilson took the helm, CCM was competing against several other companies that own chassis fleets and operate pools. Currently, CCM manages about 100,000 of the 550,000 marine chassis in the United States.
To stay competitive, CCM has been reshaping its management structure and developing new markets for its services. Here’s how Wilson is leading CCM through this evolution.
IL: What brought you to a career in ocean and intermodal transportation?
While pursuing my graduate degree in social work, I was working at a Division for Youth Service facility, and after a year I realized this career was not for me. My father, who had some experience in shipping, suggested that there were good opportunities in international shipping.
Soon, I was accepted to a training program at United States Lines. During my first day at the Howland Hook Marine Terminal in Staten Island, I stood looking up at a ship and a huge crane, with trucks and workers all around. For a young guy, all that action and big machinery seemed very inviting. I was hooked immediately.
IL: What’s one experience that shaped you as a leader?
In 1983, U.S. Lines built the first Econship, the largest vessel ever to call the United States at that time. I was assigned to set up the operation in the Port of Savannah, which was going to be the first U.S. port of call. Working with the team to set up the yard cranes and tractors was a challenge, but it was a great chance to see what I could really do.
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