Business & Investment

Smooth volume movement: TRAC Intermodal CEO’s three keys

FreightWaves recently chatted with Daniel Walsh, President and CEO of. TRAC intermodal, Reported chassis shortages and congestion issues facing the supply chain.

This Q & A interview was edited for clarity and length.

FREIGHTWAVES: What about chassis availability in the service area? What are you looking at in the markets you serve, and what is TRAC intermodal doing to ensure that things are running smoothly?

Walsh: “Let’s start with the flow of the supply chain. Obviously, what we are seeing is a very important import volume, and looking at the largest port in the United States, the six months of 2021 year-on-year. You can see that an increase of 35 points is expected.

“Most of it is driven by e-commerce …. The relevant reason is that it is clearly driving additional volume. It’s behind the changing consumer behavior that is expected to deliver faster. And it puts pressure on the entire supply chain, from manufacturing sites to shippers, container providers, port labor, chassis providers, carriers to warehouses. Obviously it’s tight. But I think all participants in the supply chain, especially humbly TRAC and competitors in this area, have done a very good job of meeting this demand in the midst of a global epidemic.

“For a particular market, it obviously depends on ship and train emissions, export needs, housing, etc …. In general, it’s great that every participant in the supply chain keeps things moving during a pandemic. I think I’ve worked. Half. ”

FREIGHTWAVES: What are some ways to see TRAC and others working smoothly on moving volumes?

Walsh: “For us, there are three things. The first is to add capacity at the pinch point location. We are relocating the chassis from the surplus location. But at the same time, we are throwing into new equipment. We are upgrading our current equipment to contribute and support the flow of goods. Looking at the investment since 2015, it is over $ 700 million … This is a capital investment in equipment. Equipment upgrades, new equipment purchases. That’s the first thing.

“The second is to bring out of stock units down as soon as possible. Returning them to service was an important priority for us: Keeping our equipment during COVID. This is I think it was done effectively through partnerships and collaborations with maintenance and repair vendors. Also, looking at the 40-foot fleet, only 3% are out of service in New York and New Jersey. A little in LA and Long Beach. High, less than 2% in Houston …. We have effectively partnered with maintenance providers, [out-of-stock] You will be returned to service.

“Third is the management of street dwellings. It’s still an opportunity for us and we’re working with all of our transporter customers and stakeholders. But you … average street You can see that housing is far above normal in all markets. Looking at the percentage of chassis that haven’t been used for more than 11 days, [as of mid-July] We are at the lowest of 31% and the highest of 43%. Usually in the range of 7% to 8%. So we are working very hard to withdraw it and work with our partners to bring the assets back into cycles and thru. “

FREIGHTWAVES: What do you want to improve?

Walsh: “In my opinion, the biggest opportunities we have are data sharing and forward provisioning of forecasted volumes using technology. As an industry, we have a lot of opportunities for improvement. Supply It can be difficult to get a complete picture of asset movement through the chain, so in my opinion, the end result is not the entire supply chain improvement, but the supply chain nodes. It tends to be optimized, and culturally, I don’t think the leap for open sharing of information has yet taken, but I think there are some really encouraging developments. Many ports offer portals where people can see what’s coming and you can go back and settle in demand, but more effectively before the cargo arrives. If we can get to a place where we can share information with, I think we will be able to better adjust the assets to move them. ”

FREIGHTWAVES: You mentioned the harbor. Who will take the lead in data sharing?

Walsh: “It was the port that worked well before. LA, Long Beach has a portal that is a way to work with steamship lines and providers to integrate data. Based on my experience, I know that. I like the model. I think it works.

“It’s not an extreme concept that you might hear. There are a lot of very open industries about who, where, when, and what’s running. Providing such information makes things better. Because what you can do is generally accepted. And I think we’ve seen it commercially as confidential before. I’m not sure, but [the data] All together, you’re more likely to optimize the degree of marriage up or down in execution … this is absolutely important. “

Daniel Walsh, President and CEO of TRAC Intermodal

FREIGHTWAVES: Are you experiencing a peak this fall? When does the season start, or is it like constant demand?

Walsh: “I think it’s pretty constant. Looking at all the indicators, we can see that there is still a lot of trading and it could surge in the summer, but more importantly, the current high levels. I think the activity is going on until the 2021 balance. At some point it will level off, but I don’t think we’re completely catching up. [from COVID, when things completely shut down].. Therefore, there is still a strong tailwind, which we anticipate will be carried over to early 2022 and may catch up slightly thereafter. “

FREIGHTWAVES: What else have you heard about the 2022 market? How long will the port volume rise?

Walsh: “In my opinion, it all starts with consumer behavior. I think COVID has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce on a consumer basis. And that drives expectations for faster delivery … You need to restructure your supply chain to meet your needs. But also, in my view, it accelerates consumption. You don’t really have to travel somewhere to buy something. You do it. You can do it all online … and everyone did a lot of DIY, upgrades, etc. with COVID, but I think e-commerce will grow consistently every year, which means retail sales will grow. They may not grow that much, but they will still grow.

“… [Inflation] Probably a limiting factor. At this point … we are looking at inflation, as a high-inflation environment can reduce consumer confidence and confidence. ”

FREIGHTWAVES: Labor was needed elsewhere in the port and in support of the supply chain. Is labor really a problem for you?

Walsh: “TRAC itself is in very good condition. But we understand that we may be in a hot market for the workforce. … It’s not a problem for us, but it’s a problem for the supply chain. It’s certainly a problem in the service industry … all of them will affect spending. At certain ports, I know that getting qualified workers to handle volumes at the rate of arrival was a major challenge. So it’s not a problem for us, but it’s certainly a problem for the supply chain and definitely an impact for the wider economy. “

FREIGHTWAVES: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Walsh: “I would like to thank everyone who works in logistics and supply chains for their contributions. I think there is pressure and in some cases it can manifest itself as congestion or problems, but logistics and supply chains around the world, especially I think it’s the practice and effort of everyone working in the middle of the United States. The global outbreak was great.

“On behalf of TRAC, I would like to thank everyone who participated in it. We have a lot of pride. People are generally in the midst of a pandemic. We recognize that moving goods has been a daunting endeavor for everyone in the supply chain. It has been seen for a hundred years. “

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Smooth volume movement: TRAC Intermodal CEO’s three keys Smooth volume movement: TRAC Intermodal CEO’s three keys

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