Can a task Order be put in place for rental months that are not attached to an actual container rental when the task order is being cut? With a POP start date that is not the actual start date because the task order would be for future rentals there for the rental start date would not start when the task order is saying it would start.
If you can come up with reasonable estimates of min and max container rentals and rental months, the best way to go is with a Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC). The FAR description and application follow immediately below:
"FAR 16.504 Indefinite-quantity contracts.
(a) Description. An indefinite-quantity contract provides for an indefinite quantity, within stated limits, of supplies or services during a fixed period. The Government places orders for individual requirements. Quantity limits may be stated as number of units or as dollar values.
(1) The contract must require the Government to order and the contractor to furnish at least a stated minimum quantity of supplies or services. In addition, if ordered, the contractor must furnish any additional quantities, not to exceed the stated maximum. The contracting officer should establish a reasonable maximum quantity based on market research, trends on recent contracts for similar supplies or services, survey of potential users, or any other rational basis.
(2) To ensure that the contract is binding, the minimum quantity must be more than a nominal quantity, but it should not exceed the amount that the Government is fairly certain to order.
(3) The contract may also specify maximum or minimum quantities that the Government may order under each task or delivery order and the maximum that it may order during a specific period of time.
(4) A solicitation and contract for an indefinite quantity must-
(i) Specify the period of the contract, including the number of options and the period for which the Government may extend the contract under each option;
(ii) Specify the total minimum and maximum quantity of supplies or services the Government will acquire under the contract;
(iii) Include a statement of work, specifications, or other description, that reasonably describes the general scope, nature, complexity, and purpose of the supplies or services the Government will acquire under the contract in a manner that will enable a prospective offeror to decide whether to submit an offer;
(iv) State the procedures that the Government will use in issuing orders, including the ordering media, and, if multiple awards may be made, state the procedures and selection criteria that the Government will use to provide awardees a fair opportunity to be considered for each order (see 16.505(b)(1));
(v) Include a description of the activities authorized to issue orders; and
(vi) Include authorization for placing oral orders, if appropriate, provided that the Government has established procedures for obligating funds and that oral orders are confirmed in writing.
(b) Application. Contracting officers may use an indefinite-quantity contract when the Government cannot predetermine, above a specified minimum, the precise quantities of supplies or services that the Government will require during the contract period, and it is inadvisable for the Government to commit itself for more than a minimum quantity. The contracting officer should use an indefinite-quantity contract only when a recurring need is anticipated...."
You would not necessarily have to award a Task Order immediately, so long as you order the minimum required amount during the ordering period. If you do end up awarding MATOCs, be mindful of the Fair Opportunity requirements as described at FAR 16.504(c) and DFARS 216.504(c).
If you cannot estimate reasonable min and max amounts, you may want to try a Requirements contract. The downside of this type of contract is that you are limited to one source - the awardee.
Immediately following is the FAR Description and Application for Requirements contracts.
"Far 16.503 Requirements contracts.
(a) Description. A requirements contract provides for filling all actual purchase requirements of designated Government activities for supplies or services during a specified contract period (from one contractor), with deliveries or performance to be scheduled by placing orders with the contractor.
(1) For the information of offerors and contractors, the contracting officer shall state a realistic estimated total quantity in the solicitation and resulting contract. This estimate is not a representation to an offeror or contractor that the estimated quantity will be required or ordered, or that conditions affecting requirements will be stable or normal. The contracting officer may obtain the estimate from records of previous requirements and consumption, or by other means, and should base the estimate on the most current information available.
(2) The contract shall state, if feasible, the maximum limit of the contractor’s obligation to deliver and the Government’s obligation to order. The contract may also specify maximum or minimum quantities that the Government may order under each individual order and the maximum that it may order during a specified period of time.
(b) Application. (1) A requirements contract may be appropriate for acquiring any supplies or services when the Government anticipates recurring requirements but cannot predetermine the precise quantities of supplies or services that designated Government activities will need during a definite period.
(2) No requirements contract in an amount estimated to exceed $100 million (including all options) may be awarded to a single source unless a determination is executed in accordance with 16.504(c)(1)(ii)(D)..."
For a Requirements contract, you don't have to meet a minimum order. The consideration to the contractor is that if a requirement comes up, they have exclusive rights to the award. This probably doesn't offer much protection for your effort as it sounds like you will have requirements; you're just not exactly sure on amount and timing.
If at all possible, try to come up with defendable minimums and maximums for the ordering periods. The Government will only be on the hook for the minimum amounts.
As always, best to run an issue like this through your legal office. Best of luck!