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Truckers counter ocean carrier effort to dismiss chassis complaint

Container chassis pooled and ready for deployment. (Photo: JIm Allen/FreightWaves)

Drayage truckers represented by the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference (IMCC) fired back at a group of ocean carriers’ effort to have a complaint before the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission dismissed.

The initial IMCC complaint, which was filed with the FMC on Aug. 17, alleged the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) and its 10 carrier members use “unjust and unreasonable” chassis provision model practices.

Specifically, the truckers claimed OCEMA members dictate which chassis providers to use.

Over the past three years, the IMCC said the ocean carriers’ actions have cost the dray trucking industry up to $1.8 billion in overcharges for chassis use.

On Sept. 18, OCEMA submitted a 30-page motion to the FMC to dismiss the IMCC’s complaint, stating that ocean carriers should be “free to structure their relationships with shippers and chassis providers as they see fit.”

OCEMA also said the FMC’s jurisdiction does not apply to domestic transportation activities between ocean carriers and truckers.

The IMCC responded that OCEMA “cannot seriously claim that the IMCC’s 42-page, 82-paragraph complaint fails to plead a facially plausible claim against them. The complaint provides detailed factual allegations of the ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’ of respondent’s unjust and unreasonable conduct.”

The trucking group said the FMC has jurisdiction under the 1984 Shipping Act to pursue the complaint since the ocean carriers’ involvement with chassis has ties to tariffs and contracts. The handling chassis also has an impact on the efficiency of the nation’s ports and inland terminals.

The IMCC has said it 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, leading it to file a complaint with the FMC.

On Aug. 28, the FMC assigned the complaint to its Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Related News

Ocean carrier group seeks dray truckers’ chassis complaint dismissal

FMC assigns truckers’ chassis compliant to administrative law judges

Truckers seek $1.8B from ocean carriers for alleged chassis overcharges

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


  1. MrBigR504

    I swear if I could get these driver’s to recognize how much power we have to get our money straight! If we stop for 3 or 4 days and these trains and ships can’t load or unload that it would bring this to a slow crawl if not a screeching halt! Because like I said, JB Hunt and Swift and these other fleet companies can’t get it all! Wake up driver’s, we are doing one of the most dangerous parts of the transportation industry and we should get all what we’re supposed to get and definitely not that flat rate sh-t! Raggedy’azz chassis on recapped inner tube tires that were supposed to be outlawed a while back I thought. But it’s just, “Don’t worry about the mule just load the wagon”! The mule die we’ll buy another and if we fire the mule we’ll hire another! WAKE UP DRIVERS!!!!

  2. MrBigR504

    Chassis are the least of our worries, let’s get some transparency about the rates being paid to the owner operators that haul these raggedy’azz containers! Waaay too much pimp’n going on with these rates! We pay 72% Yeah but 72% of what? You can’t tell that paying me $388.00 from Atlanta to Chattanooga,Tn round trip is on the level! Or a military load from Fairburn,Ga. to Huntsville,Al round trip is only paying $500.00 and sump’em to the truck? Chassis split pays $43.20? And we’re paying $25.00 a week cargo insurance! Please tell me how the drivers are getting a fair shake? Railyards are trashy and container yards have freak’n bankers hours and we operate out of Atlanta where the traffic never stops. This industry needs to be revamped and the trucking companies and agents need to be transparent with the money with the owner operators who make this industry move because JB Hunt and Swift and these other fleet companies can’t haul all these 20ft and 40ft and 53ft containers that’s for damn sure!

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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.