- TRAC Intermodal has signed a deal with LB Steel and Integrated Industries to expand the largest fleet of marine and specialty chassis in North America, TRAC announced this month.
- In a partnership called American Made Chassis, LB Steel will build frames for the new chassis and Integrated Industries Corp. will blast, paint and install equipment components at a facility in Dixmoor, Illinois.
- TRAC declined to provide details on how many chassis it would buy or when, and did not disclose the deal’s valuation. But president and CEO Daniel Walsh said in a statement the company is investing "record amounts of capital to supply our customers’ continued growth and expansion."
Limited chassis availability has cascading effects on supply chain congestion because it prevents truckers from clearing containers from port terminals, warehouses and storage yards.
Other pool operators are exploring ways to add chassis in response to supply constraints. Consolidated Chassis Management and its partners previously said they planned to ask the Federal Maritime Commission to review a proposal to grow the South Atlantic Chassis Pool while improving chassis availability.
The chassis market has emerged as one of several critical bottlenecks for motor carriers and supply chains — especially following U.S. tariffs last year on those manufactured in China.
TRAC’s announcement touted American Made Chassis as "proven, high-quality manufacturers" positioned to help TRAC grow its fleet. The deal expands a long-term partnership with the companies and complements agreements with other key manufacturers, Walsh said.
The domestic production plans come as companies are increasingly turning to alternate suppliers in Mexico and elsewhere. The proportion of U.S. chassis imports from China fell sharply after the institution of Section 301 tariffs in 2018, according to Chris Rogers, principal supply chain economist at Flexport.
Additional chassis are needed, but relief won’t be felt for some time, Eisen said.
"This is encouraging, certainly, but thus far … we have not seen the chassis availability increase at the moment," Eisen said.