The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has assigned to its Office of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) a complaint from the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference (IMCC) alleging massive overcharges for container chassis use in recent years.
The FMC received the complaint from the association on Aug. 17.
The agency said in a Federal Register notice on Friday that the ALJ will make an initial decision by Aug. 24, 2021, followed by a final decision by the commission on March 10, 2022.
The IMCC’s 43-page complaint alleges that the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) and its 10 ocean container carrier members use “unjust and unreasonable” chassis provision model practices by “requiring the use of OCEMA member default chassis providers, and denying motor carriers their right to select the chassis provider for merchant haulage movements.”
The trucking group said these actions violate the 1984 Shipping Act.
The complaint also calls for OCEMA and its members to pay the trucking industry damages of up to $1.8 billion to resolve overcharges for chassis use over the past three years.
OCEMA was formed in 1990 by the ocean carriers to better manage chassis at high-traffic container ports and intermodal hubs. In 2006, OCEMA developed Consolidated Chassis Management to adopt regional equipment pools to give truckers “freedom of chassis choice.”
The IMCC had hoped to avoid legal action by sending a cease-and-desist letter to OCEMA and to the ocean carriers in May. The trucking group said OCEMA failed to address the alleged violations.