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Drayage truckers, ocean carriers discuss chassis lease rate disparity

Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference members say current lease rates are unfair

Intermodal drayage truckers seek faireness for chassis lease rates. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A national group representing drayage trucking companies says it has started talks with the Ocean Carrier Equipment Association (OCEMA) to resolve a festering dispute involving rate disparities in chassis leases.

“OCEMA notified us they received our cease-and-desist letter and we have begun a dialogue with them about the issues raised by our members,” Tyler Rushforth, executive director of the American Trucking Association’s Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference (IMCC), told American Shipper on Wednesday.

Tyler Rushforth, executive director, Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference (Photo: Courtesy)

The IMCC estimated that drayage trucking companies in the past three years collectively spent $1.8 billion and possibly more in their chassis leases with OCEMA chassis pools compared to leases with ocean container carriers.

In its May 4 cease-and-desist letter, the IMCC threatened to file a formal complaint against OCEMA with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and pursue legal action in federal court if chassis contracts maintained the alleged pricing disparities between drayage truckers and ocean carriers.

The IMCC’s letter gave OCEMA until May 25 to respond, which according to Rushforth precipitated the current dialogue between the two parties.

“We can’t comment on the substance of those talks, but we are hopeful they will lead to a resolution that is mutually beneficial for both sides,” Rushforth said.

OCEMA, whose 11 ocean carrier members represent 80% of the container market, was formed in 2005 to “discuss, evaluate and reach agreement with respect to matters pertaining to the interchange, transportation, use and operation of carrier equipment in the U.S.” The association’s members formed Consolidated Chassis Management to operate six interoperative gray chassis pools throughout the country.

During the past two years, the FMC has monitored U.S. shipper and drayage trucker access to chassis. The agency has continued this effort during the coronavirus pandemic.

Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves articles by Chris Gillis.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.