Grounded-chassis container terminal operations



Dr Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Hofstra University, New York, USA, and Mark Booth, CPCS Transcom Limited, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada



This article summarises some of the findings of a 2012 report by CPCS Transcom, InterPro Advisory, Prime Focus and Jean-Paul Rodrigue in the ‘Guidebook for Assessing Evolving International Container Chassis Supply Models’, Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Freight Research Program.

The chassis in container terminal operations

Ocean container chassis have a critical function in the movement and storage of full and empty marine containers. A container chassis is a wheeled structure designed to carry marine containers for the purpose of truck movement between terminals and shipping facilities. It is a simple electromechanical device composed of a steel frame, tyres, brakes and a lighting system. Storage in container yards can be grounded where containers are stored by stacking them upon one another, or wheeled with containers stored on chassis.

Grounded container terminal operations are the standard model around the world. In such a setting, containers are stacked on the terminal yard, using equipment such as rubber-tyred gantries (RTGs) or straddle carriers. One key advantage of grounded operations is much higher storage density (see Figure 1). Wheeled operations usually transfer containers with one lift, but require a significantly larger fleet of chassis, more land to store chassis, and containers on chassis (see Figure 2). Usually, there is also more yard tractor time and mileage driving to and from the storage area…

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