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Ready for the Next Chapter D.D. Jones turns over trucking operation to AIS

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 1:00 pm

Inside Business: The Hampton Roads Business Journal
March 14, 2014

After 86 years, D.D. Jones Transfer and Warehouse Co. has dropped out of the transportation industry. The initials emblazoned on the Chesapeake operation’s 31 trucks have been replaced with the red shield of Charleston, S.C.-based Atlantic Intermodal Services.

“AIS was willing to take on our entire trucking staff at their Norfolk operations – 50 drivers,” D.D. Jones President Robert Jones Jr. said, “so the transition was relatively painless for our staff and our customers.”

To read the entire article, visit Inside Business.

Lowe’s Assure Chassis Availability with Dedicated Fleet

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 2:51 pm

Journal of Commerce
March 6, 2014

The home-improvement retailer Lowe’s is reducing its equipment costs and avoiding the chassis shortages that are plaguing cargo interests at a number of U.S. ports by leasing a dedicated fleet of chassis in its South Atlantic operations.

The chassis model that was discussed yesterday at the JOC’s TPM conference assures Lowe’s of chassis availability at a cost savings compared to leasing equipment from general-user chassis pools.

To read the entire article, visit the Journal of Commerce.

South Carolina firm buys trucking unit in Chesapeake

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 2:50 pm

February 26, 2014

Atlantic Intermodal Services (AIS), based in Charleston, S.C., announced on Tuesday that it has acquired the trucking division of Chesapeake-based D.D. Jones Transfer and Warehouse Co.

The purchase price was not released.

To read the entire article, visit the Virginian-Pilot.

Charleston trucking business expands presence in Virginia

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 2:48 pm

Charleston Post and Courier
March 3, 2014

A Charleston-based trucking business is beefing up its presence near Virginia’s biggest port terminal.

Atlantic Intermodal Services has purchased the trucking division of Chesapeake, Va.-based D.D. Jones Transfer and Warehouse Co. in a deal announced last week. Financial terms were not disclosed.

To read the entire article, visit the Charleston Post and Courier.

As imports increase, S.C. company expects growth in Greensboro

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 2:36 pm

Business Journal of Greater Triad
August 22, 2013

Atlantic Intermodal Services, a Charleston, S.C.-based company that specializes in transportation services including import/export cargo shipments, is expecting to double revenues at its Greensboro office.

Atlantic’s 2,500-square-foot Greensboro location, which opened last October at 3225 Pinecroft Court as the company’s seventh office, expects to double its current 15 trucks and add to its existing staff of two full-time team members within the next year thanks to an increased demand for freight.

To view the entire article, visit Business Journal of Greater Triad.


Society for Information Management’s Teen Tech Camp

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 7:14 pm

Fox 13 News
June 16, 2013

Inland Intermodal Logisitics Services vice president of technology solutions David Ulloa speaks with Fox 13 News about Teen Tech Camp, which collaborates with the Memphis Benjamin Library to enourage teens to be future IT leaders.

To view the interview, visit Fox 13 News.

IMC set to buy Express America

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 1:21 pm

The Commerical Appeal
By Wayne Risher
May 9, 2013

Memphis-based IMC Companies will boost its haedcount to more than 1,000 drivers by acquiring Express America Trucking Inc.

IMC said Tuesday that it recently agreed to buy Express America and put the company’s president, Barry Bernard, in a leadership role at Intermodal Cartage Co., one of its units. Express America, founded in 2000 in Memphis, provides intermodal, truckload, flatbed and yard management services.

To view the entire article, visit Commerical Appeal.

O&M Panel to Tackle Aging Chassis Concern

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 1:06 pm

From Intermodal Insights -

With an aging U.S. chassis fleet many in the industry are wondering about chassis availability and capacities in the future. Five intermodal executives will be taking on the topic during IANA’s upcoming Intermodal Operations and Maintenance Seminar, being held at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott in Oak Brook, IL. The discussion, “Are We Facing a Chassis Replacement Cliff?” – An Aging Fleet Needing Investment,” is slated for Thursday afternoon, May 2.

Scheduled panelist Mark H. George, chairman of IMC Companies, told Intermodal Insights, “Yes, we are facing a ‘chassis cliff’. The average age of international chassis is somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 years.

“There are a few obvious reasons why little investment has been made in the supply of chassis,” George continued. “First, the gray pool has created more frequency in chassis utilization requiring fewer chassis, and, second, ocean carriers decided several years ago that they were going to exit chassis ownership, so why continue investing in new chassis? And, third, a global recession has hampered ocean carrier investment.

“It’s obvious that motor carriers will bear the cost of the chassis going forward. The ‘chassis cliff’ that I’m afraid of,” George said “is a very few leasing companies gaining control of the international chassis fleets and gray pools and leaving the motor carriers little choice or say in where chassis are sourced from.”

George noted that that is why IMC unit Intermodal Cartage Co. is a founding member of the North American Chassis Pool Cooperative, which intends to pool chassis together and become a contributor to the gray chassis pools, with its members having a say in the type of chassis they use and putting forth an “at-cost” chassis provisioning model.

Data obtained from the IANA Global Intermodal Equipment Registry support George’s statement on the age of the international chassis in particular.

As shown by the accompanying chart, 63 percent of domestic chassis in use today were built in 2002 or later while 64 percent of international chassis in use today were built in 2001 or earlier.

Steve Rubin, principal at Inter-Pro Advisory LLC, who is scheduled to moderate the session, noted that, with the lifetime of chassis being about 20 years, one might expect a turnover of 25 percent of the chassis fleet over a five-year period. However, only 2 percent of international chassis now in use were built in 2008 or later.

“This is going to be a real issue,” Rubin said. He also noted that the industry may have to look at refurbishing or remanufacturing of existing chassis to meet demand – but that presents the problem of having to take much-needed equipment out of service for several weeks.

Also perceiving a crisis – as well as a possible opportunity – is scheduled panelist Stuart James, vice president of sales at Hyundai Translead, which is engaged in a near-sourcing program building chassis in Mexico to help meet demand.

“As the steamship lines increase their emphasis on moving away from the traditional U.S. model where the line provides the chassis, and the draymen-truckers either can’t – or at least do not wish to – embrace the alternate model more common elsewhere in the world of the trucker providing the chassis,” said James, “much of the existing chassis fleet is at, or even beyond, tis theoretic useful life.”

“Add to this the fleet’s general state of obsolescence – no ABS, bias-ply tires, five-spoke wheels – we have to think that we’re marching toward a chassis capacity crisis,” James continued. “I don’t know who is going to step in with the massive investment that will be necessary, but this is truly one of those cases where you can view it as a crisis or as the opportunity of a career.”

“We’re beginning to see some of the front-line, best managed over-the-road truckers now paying some attention to chassis,” he concluded. “They understand the benefits of the intermodal line haul in 53 foot domestic containers/chassis and I think are now looking at the drayage opportunity with new eyes. One thing for sure, the cargo will get delivered. Now, who takes the risk – that I don’t know.”

Slated to round out the session panel are Jordan Ayers, managing director of Quest Capital Group LLC, and Bernard J. Vaughan, executive vice president of law and administration for Flexi-Van Leasing Inc.

Vaughan commented, “There is no doubt that little investment has been made industry-wide into the international chassis fleet over the last five years.”

Vaughan cited similar reasons mentioned by George for the lack of investment but added that Flexi-Van has always been willing to build new equipment, as well as provide such “upgrades” as radial tires and ABS brakes.

“Our experience, however, is that, in the past, few have been willing to pay for the additional cost associated with the upgrades,” Vaughan said, noting that his firm is slowly seeing a change in that mentality.

“The slowdown in chassis investment in recent years was impacted in significant measure by the reticence of some entities to make additional capital investment while the industry was trying to right-size the U.S. chassis fleet to adequately reflect the efficiencies gained through chassis pooling,” Vaughan added. “Moreover, we were surprised somewhat by the accelerated pace of the ocean carriers’ divestiture of their chassis assets and the implementation of a new business model whereby the ocean carriers ceased providing chassis to their customers.”

STB Approves Trucker Chassis Pool

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 7:33 pm

From the Journal of Commerce

The Surface Transportation Board has granted its permission for motor carriers to use co-op pools to acquire and share intermodal chassis.

The STB’s regulatory clearance brings the North American Chassis Pool Cooperative a step closer to operation. The NACPC was formed last October as a cooperative for drayage carriers that want to buy chassis for sharing in pools.

The co-op’s members are a small group of motor carrier companies that are also members of the ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference.

Under federal law governing motor carriers, STB approval is required before motor carriers may “pool or divide traffic or services or any part of their earnings.”

The NACPC is the first motor carrier entity to seek and gain approval to operate within the evolving chassis pool marketplace.

Container ship lines have been disengaging from ownership and operation of chassis in the U.S. market, and encouraging a shift toward increased motor carrier responsibility for the equipment.

Organizers of the trucker chassis co-op say motor carriers want to retain a say in managing the chassis through participation in the pool, and to upgrade the quality of equipment they use.

Last fall, IMC Companies, a member of NACPC, purchased more than 1,500 intermodal chassis from ocean carrier OOCL (USA) and put them into Consolidated Chassis Management’s Mid-South co-op pool for dedicated use by OOCL.

Industry group forms chassis pool; drayage carrier buys 1,520 units

Atlantic Intermodal Services — admin @ 3:50 pm

From Transport Topics -

The gradual shift of intermodal equipment control from ocean carrier to truckers advanced last week as an industry group formally created a chassis cooperative and drayage carrier, IMC Companies, purchased 1,520 units for use in an existing pool.
American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference founded the North American Chassis Pool Cooperative, or NACPC, for drayage truckers who want to buy chassis, Executive Director Curtis Whalen said.

Earlier this month, IMC became the first trucker to participate in the Consolidated Chassis Management pool, after buying the chassis from water carrier Orient Overseas Container Line.

The moves were the latest step in a transition that began three years ago after passage of a federal law making owners of chassis responsible for maintaining them in safe, roadworthy condition.

Maersk Inc., the largest ocean carrier, responded by carvin out a chassis rental unit, and since then 15 more of the largest ocean carriers have announced changes in their chassis strategy, forcing trucking companies to buy or rent chassis that used to be supplied free by the lines.

“This is a historic event for our company and industry in developing an industry solution to transition ownership of chassis from ocean carriers to other entities,” said Mark George, president of IMC Companies, Memphis, Tenn.

The new federal rules began to take effect in 2009, shifting responsibility for equipment condition from truckers to ocean carriers while chassis are on the road.

“This is a big first step,” Phil Wojeik, president of the CCM pool, told Transport Topics. “It is opening the door and taking a step toward a whole chassis paradigm with motor carriers taking more control as lines exit
chassis provision.”

IMC’s chassis were added to CCM’s Mid-South pool that includes Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.

Terms of the chassis purchase agreement weren’t announced.

CCM operates six pools and manages approximately 125,000 chassis. It’s owned by the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, whose members have contributed chassis to the pool.

IMC operates five drayage carriers, in a total of nearly 40 locations from coast to coast. All of the chassis that IMC owns are roadworthy, and the fleet is younger on average than the CCM Pool, George said.

“I believe this is the most efficient and forward-thinking strategy for our industry – facilitating ocean carriers that choose to disengage their ownership, while ensuring that our mutual cargo-owner customers continue to have access to a reliable chassis fleet,” he added.

George told TT that IMC is having discussions with OOCL about transferring ownership of chassis in other pools.

“There is a lot of interest from many different stakeholders on where the industry is heading,” Wojeik said, adding he’s bad discussions with other, unidentified motor carriers about joining CCM’s pool. “The strength of the CCM Pool is that it is one solution that encompasses many different business approaches.”

Those approaches include ocean carriers’ past and planned equipment contributions to CCM’s pool as well as the potential addition of equipment from the IMC’s new chassis cooperative.

Curtis Whalen, executive director of the drayage carriers’ group, told TT that “we are working on the regulatory issues [relating to the cooperative] that have to be addressed in one form or another.”

Those issues include how to structure the group, so that it’s approved when the U.S. Justice Department reviews the proposal, Whalen said.

He said it’s also possible that the Surface Transportation Board will have to review the plan. U.S. freight railroads operate a railcar equipment pool through a company known as TTX, whose operation is overseen by the STB.

CCM is operating with the approval of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Whalen also said that moves such as IMC’s purchase of chassis for use in a pool could be a short term answer while members of his group map out plans that could lead to equipment ownership by the cooperative or individual motor carriers.

IMC has been working on a chassis transition plan since early this year. Asked how soon the cooperative could become operative, Whalen didn’t give a specific date.

“Time is somewhat of the essence,” he said. “Ocean carriers are getting out gradually. Some want to do that as soon as tomorrow. Some are a bit longer term.”

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