DOT opens probe into container, chassis shortages

Date: Friday, September 17, 2021
Source: Freightwaves

The Biden administration is asking a “broad range of stakeholders” involved with moving freight to help solve the country’s container and intermodal chassis shortages while also trying to alleviate supply chain chokepoints.

In an information request to be posted in the Federal Register on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation wants to get public comment on current challenges faced by the freight and logistics sector, including:

  • Current and potential future shortages and/or distribution limitations of essential cargo-handling equipment, such as chassis and shipping containers, and how these challenges can be or are likely to be addressed by the freight and logistics industry over both the medium and longer term.
  • The identification of major infrastructure or operational bottlenecks and chokepoints across all aspects of the freight and logistics supply chain — including shipping/receiving, intermodal transfer, rail/water/truck transportation, warehousing, etc. — that slow or impede efficient cargo movement within the freight and logistics sector and the most effective investments and management practice improvements that could be made to alleviate those bottlenecks.
  • Warehouse capacity and availability, and any challenges faced in operating and siting/constructing those facilities, as well as challenges faced by third-party logistics service providers and other stakeholders in the logistics system.
  • Technology issues, including information systems, cybersecurity risks and interoperability, that affect the safe, efficient and reliable movement of goods. Would greater standardization of those technologies help address those challenges?
  • Opportunities and challenges with respect to the existing and future workforce to ensure a well-functioning freight and logistics supply chain and achieve the president’s goal of increasing good-paying jobs with the choice of a union. Are there additional workforce or skill set opportunities and needs currently or expected in the future?

The information request will help inform an executive order signed by President Biden in February directing federal agencies to take action to secure and strengthen America’s supply chains.

The executive order requires the secretary of Transportation to submit to the president within one year a supply chain assessment that will build off work being conducted by Biden’s Supply Chains Disruption Task Force.

The task force, established in June and co-chaired by the secretaries of Transportation, Agriculture and Commerce, was formed to address near-term supply chain challenges and constraints in the transportation sector, particularly for ports, rail and trucking.

Comments are due within 30 days.


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