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National Academies to Examine Intermodal Chassis Pools

The National Academies of Science (NAS) will be conducting a study examining intermodal chassis pools and provide recommendations on best practices for their management after the Federal Maritime Commission awarded them a $500,000 contract.


The study was mandated by Section 19 of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA).

Under this agreement, a NAS consensus committee of independent experts will study the different approaches for supplying the chassis used by motor carriers, railroads, marine terminal operators, and other stakeholders to transport intermodal ocean containers. The committee will examine currently existing chassis pool models and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each.


As directed by the law, the study will consider whether the models have aligned incentives in ownership, management, repair, and provisioning that lead to supply chain efficiency. Additionally, the committee will evaluate the potential for efficiency-enhancing communications, information sharing, and knowledge management practices across chassis pool models.


The committee will use the findings from their research to determine which circumstances and models for provisioning chassis most support an efficiently functioning supply chain, and will identify the best practices from each examined model that can further increase efficiency. The committee will identify the conditions necessary to implement each model, including practical obstacles to implementation and their possible solutions.


Committee members will serve without compensation. This committee will be appointed over the next several weeks and the public will be provided with an opportunity to comment on the makeup of the committee. Individuals interested in serving on the study committee, or in suggesting candidates, should contact Thomas Menzies and Mark Hutchins of the NAS Transportation Research Board.


The Commission is meeting this requirement of OSRA a full seven months ahead of the statutorily established deadline of April 2023. This contract award is the latest action the Commission has taken in implementing OSRA since its enactment in June of this year. The Commission has established a dedicated landing page that consolidates all information about OSRA related actions.

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