Society for Information Management’s Teen Tech Camp

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.

DNJ Intermodal Services Opens new Office in Omaha, Announces Promotions

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

May 20, 2013

DNJ Intermodal  Services has recently announced that it will open a new office in Omaha,  Nebraska on June 1, 2013.  The intermodal transportation and logistics firm  already has offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis.

In addition, DNJ Intermodal Services announced that team member  Mason George has been promoted from regional manager to the position of regional  vice president for DNJ Intermodal Services’ Midwest region.   In  Mason’s new role, he will oversee management of all offices in the Midwest  region, including the new office in Omaha.

To view the entire article, visit St. Louis Dispatch.

IMC set to buy Express America

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.

O&M Panel to Tackle Aging Chassis Concern

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

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.

DNJ Intermodal Services

From Progressive Railroading –

John Houdek has been named regional vice president of DNJ Intermodal Services in Channahon, Ill. Most recently, he was general manager of Pacer Cartage Inc. Houdek has more than 33 years of transportation experience. “John comes to DNJ with a very strong intermodal background, which he will leverage to oversee the growth and expansion of our Great Lakes region,” DNJ President Joe Tovo said in a prepared statement.

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

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.”

Motor Carrier Buys Chassis for CCM Pool

From the Journal of Commerce –

A motor carrier has purchased more than 1,500 intermodal chassis from OOCL (USA) and will put them into Consolidated Chassis Management’s Mid-South cooperative pool for use by OOCL.

The deal by IMC Companies is a major step in the continuing disengagement by container ship lines from owning and operating chassis in the U.S. market, and toward increased motor carrier responsibility for the equipment.

IMC Companies and other members of the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference are studying creation of a motor carrier cooperative that would purchase chassis from ocean carriers.

The North American Chassis Pool Cooperative would contribute chassis to neutral pools such as CCM. Motor carriers have filed papers in Delaware for formation of the co-op as a limited liability company.

CCM, owned by 18 container ship lines, operates six regional cooperative pools. CCM received Federal Maritime Commission approval last year to accept chassis contributed by truckers and shippers as well as ocean carriers.

The U.S. is the only major nation where most chassis used for international shipments are owned or leased by ocean carriers. In Europe and Asia, chassis normally are provided by truckers, forwarders or shippers.

Ocean carriers for a decade have been moving to reduce their multibillion-dollar involvement in chassis. The process began with chassis pools such as those operated by CCM, which was formed in 2005.

In 2009, Maersk Line transferred its chassis fleet to newly formed Direct ChassisLink Inc., which rents equipment to truckers by the day. Since the creation of DCLI, now owned by private equity firm Littlejohn, most major ocean carriers have quit providing free chassis in some or all locations.

IMC Companies is the first motor carrier to execute an operating agreement with CCM’s regional pools. The chassis IMC Companies has acquired will be dedicated to OOCL’s use in CCM’s Memphis-based Mid-South pool.

“This is an historic event for our company and industry in developing an industry solution to transition ownership of chassis from ocean carriers to other entities,” IMC Companies Chairman Mark H. George said in announcing the deal.

George said IMC is part of the ATA group studying creation of a motor carrier co-op that would “acquire ocean carriers’ chassis and then contribute those chassis back into the CCM gray pool model.”

“Simply said, the cooperative’s desire would be to replace ocean carrier or other owning entities’ ownership with NACPC ownership and to have an active ‘say’ in managing the chassis through participation in a CCM pool,” George said in a statement.

Curtis Whalen, executive director of the ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference, said truckers want to improve the quality of chassis. Motor carriers complain constantly about old equipment and poor maintenance by ocean carriers.

The move by ocean carriers to reduce their role in chassis supply gained momentum after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented changes that made equipment owners instead of trucking companies responsible for chassis safety while on the road.

Steve Rubin, a former TRAC Intermodal executive and now a consultant who was lead author of a recent Transportation Research Board study of chassis, said truckers will face higher rental costs during the next few years as aging chassis must be replaced.

The average life of chassis is about 20 years and the U.S. international chassis fleet will average 18 years by the end of 2015, Rubin said. “There’s a replacement-cycle cliff coming up,” he said.

As the chassis supply model continues to evolve, truckers want to ensure their needs aren’t ignored, Whalen said. “We need to do something to get better input into the process,” he said. “We also need to upgrade the nature of the chassis we depend on. We’ve always said we thought chassis were not maintained as well as we would maintain them.”

IMC Companies Joins U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership

IMC Companies recently announced that Atlantic Intermodal Services (AIS), DNJ Intermodal Services (DNJ), Gulf Intermodal Services (GIS), Intermodal Cartage Company (IMCG) and National Drayage Services (NDS) have joined the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry, which provides a framework to assess the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement supply chains.

The companies will contribute to the Partnership’s savings of 1.5 billion gallons of fuel, $3.6 billion in fuel costs, 14.7 MMT of carbon dioxide (CO2), 215,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and 8,000 tons of particulate matter.  Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, and nitrogen oxide is an air pollutant that contributes to smog.  By joining SmartWay Transport Partnership, IMC Companies demonstrates its strong environmental leadership and corporate responsibility.

“At IMC Companies, we are constantly searching for ways to provide our clients with quality service while ensuring our output minimally impacts the environment,” said IMC Companies chairman Mark H. George. “We felt our mission tied in perfectly with the goals of the SmartWay Transport Partnership, and we look forward to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint. We are confident that this partnership will benefit the environment and, in turn, our customers for many years to come.”

Developed jointly in early 2003 by EPA and Charter Partners represented by industry stakeholders, environmental groups, American Trucking Associations and Business for Social Responsibility, this program was launched in 2004. Partners rely upon SmartWay tools and approaches to track and reduce emissions and fuel use from goods movement. The Partnership currently has over 3,000 partners. For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership, visit www.epa.gov/smartway.

About IMC Companies:

IMC Companies is a national network of trucking transport and support businesses, providing local and regional services of international and domestic containers; chassis and container maintenance and repair; full service container depots and secured container storage; hazardous material shipments; reefer service, fueling and protection; roadside repair services; and rail terminal operations. To learn more about IMC Companies family of brands, visit www.imccompanies.com.

DNJ Intermodal loads up clients by differentiating itself

From the Kansas City Business Journal –

Mason George arrived in Kansas City a little more than a year and a half ago and
faced the daunting task of building a trucking business virtually from scratch.

Although he was starting a regional office for Chicago-based DNJ Intermodal
Services, that’s not a universally known brand here, and aside from some
customer contacts the home base in Chicago provided, he had to differentiate
DNJ from the other established drayage haulers — the trucks that ferry cargo
containers to and from rail yards.

“In this business it’s all about getting drivers and getting freight, climbing
the ladder,” he said. “Once you’ve got your hand on more drivers, you need more
freight. Once you have enough freight, you need more drivers. So, it’s really
about going back to the cycle and developing the best product for these guys so
they can continue to come back to you and you have something to build on.”

For George, that meant operating an office out of his front seat. He knocked on
dozens of doors at truck stops looking for independent drivers to take his
loads and made hundreds of cold calls to shippers, steamship operators and
freight forwarders, trying to collect some of their drayage.

He estimated that 85 percent of his business is international, helping
steamship lines with the last legs of a container’s journey from an Asian
warehouse to a customer’s loading dock.

“It was just a matter of finding the right people to help you progress,” he
said. “Once you get your name out there, fortunately people start calling you.”

OEC Group, a logistics firm in Kansas City, was among DNJ’s first local
customers and got the relationship off with a challenging request.

Jayce Keller, a traffic coordinator with OEC, said OEC had a customer needing a
container delivered from Kansas City to a location in Arkansas on a Saturday,
and Keller had to find a trucker at 3:30 the Friday before.

“(My manager) said: ‘Hey, give this guy Mason a call. He’s called me looking
for some business.’ I gave Mason a call, and he gave us a good rate,” Keller
said. “I said, ‘If you do this, we’ll throw more business at you because we
appreciate it.’ Everything went great, and he got the job done.”

Keller said OEC, which prefers to work with a limited number of drayage firms,
has stuck with DNJ because of its ability to deal with the hard assignments.

The hard work has paid off as DNJ’s Kansas City office has gone from operating
two to three trucks and generating $15,000 a week in business a year ago to
about 25 trucks and as much as $75,000 a week now.

He’s operating with four other people in a single-wide trailer in Kansas City,
Kan., but he plans to add a fifth soon and will move the operation to Southern
Johnson County once the BNSF    Intermodal Facility opens in
Edgerton.

“The biggest struggle I’ve got is telling people no, telling customers I don’t
have the capacity,” George said.

He said he’s benefited from corporate support. For example, DNJ has a
proprietary online system that keeps customers up to date on rates and shipping
schedules. DNJ also has four other U.S. locations, giving George’s customers a
single point of contact as opposed to dealing with separate haulers at each
step.

At the same time, DNJ is compact enough that George can offer the feel of a
more traditional mom-and-pop firm.

“I report directly to the president,” he said. “If we need to make a quick
change, I gotta make one phone call and tell them what’s going on, the same
advantage that a smaller company would have in town here.”

The other half of the equation, finding drivers and, more important, keeping
them happy in an industry facing a driver shortage, is a burden he has to face
largely by himself. He relies on good relations and competitive rates.

“Drivers are a fun group of guys to be around,” he said. “Talking with drivers,
that appears to be a differentiator. We’re dedicated to them. We want them to
be as successful as we are.”

DNJ President Joe Tovo said he was attracted to Kansas City for a regional
office because it’s a railroad hub like the company’s home base in Chicago and
a number of customers said it would help as they tend to build their business
around regions of the country.

“It just seemed like a no-brainer to us,” Tovo said. “The only difficult part
in expanding to another city — because it is a whole new operation — is finding
the right people to do it. … Mason’s been in Kansas City going on a year, and
he’s incredible. His drive and determination have really made that terminal
profitable and our growth way beyond what I thought it would do in a year.”

Looking ahead, George said he thinks that the growth can continue and that he
can scale to grow with it. However, he’s also preparing for what could be a
difficult few months as a recovering economy and the busy summer shipping
period tax his ability to find and keep drivers.

Roger Woody, a University of Kansas    lecturer on supply-chain
management and chairman of the local Trade Data Exchange Inc., said DNJ could
do well once the BNSF facility opens.
“Intermodal activity is among the largest growing areas for most railroads,”
Woody said. “You’re successful if you’re able to do that work very well, if
you’ve got drivers who are trained to do that service well, if you’re timely,
if you’re keeping the customer informed in terms of where his containers or
trailers are, they can certainly increase the value they bring to that
transportation service.”