2018 IAAA Finalist: Chassis Leasing and Selection Policy for Port Operations

Port cargo drayage operations manage the movement of shipping containers that arrive and depart on ocean-going container vessels and are transported over the road to and from inland trans-loading facilities. While containers are on land they are placed on wheeled chassis until they return to the port facility. A significant operational challenge is the acquisition and management of these chassis. While many port drayage operators simply lease chassis on a per day basis as demand warrants, Schneider National has determined that an analytics-driven policy that combines long term leasing with daily rental leads to significant cost savings while improving both service and reliability. We present and implement a solution methodology that addresses the two decision problems that arise with this dual sourcing approach: 1) the optimal fleet size for leased chassis and 2) a real-time decision policy for selecting between rental and leased chassis as containers are received. As we demonstrate our solution represents an integrated approach that combines the three general areas of analytics methodology and incorporates a particularly novel interplay of optimization, simulation, and predictive modeling. We conclude with an analysis of the financial benefit that has been achieved and a discussion of the applicability of our methodology to other problem settings.