Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Chunker, a marketplace for the leasing of short-term warehouse space, has leased six sites in California where at least 20,000 ocean containers can be stored while state officials and industry executives work through persistent supply chain bottlenecks caused in part by an overflow of empty containers at the state’s seaports.
The agreement, announced Tuesday, runs for one year with an option for a second year, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. The state-owned sites comprise armories in Lancaster, Palmdale and Stockton, a former prison site in Tracy, and fairgrounds in San Joaquin County and Antelope Valley, the governor’s office said. Chunker will coordinate the movement of the boxes between ports, drayage firms and beneficial cargo owners, the office said.
The agreement with Lehi, Utah-based Chunker stems from an executive order signed in October aimed at alleviating yearlong congestion at California ports, notably the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, into which 40% of the country’s import traffic flows. Among the steps is a federal-state partnership to secure $5 billion in loans to improve cargo flows and build resilience into the network. Another is the March 1 opening of a 22-acre pop-up site at the Port of Oakland to help agricultural exporters store products and eventually get them into containers. Oakland is a major export hub and handles large volumes of agricultural products due to its proximity to California’s Central Valley, a breadbasket for the state and much of the nation.
The announcement comes as port directors from across the state met virtually with policymakers to address the ongoing congestion issues at California ports. As part of a five-point plan, the group called for the creation of an Office of Freight run by a supply chain coordinator who will implement a statewide goods movement policy and manage the rollout of federal infrastructure investments. The balance of the plan was more general in nature, calling for greater investment in infrastructure, reducing dock congestion, supporting the needs of agricultural exporters and increasing federal funding for California ports.
The agreement makes Chunker the largest provider of off-port container storage space in the state, the company said. Chunker serves as a digital conduit between warehouse lessors and potential lessees who are interested in entering into short-term transactions for available space. About 30% of all U.S. warehouse space is either unutilized or underutilized at any given time, according to Chunker.
Virtually all major warehouse deals are multiyear. The idea behind the short-term leasing model is that many prospective occupiers don’t have year-round or multiyear storage needs and are willing to share space with other tenants as long as they have adequate capacity for their goods.