Once again intermodal container chassis become a bone of contention.Ocean carriers brought this on themselves by trying to escape liability for accidents caused by defective chassis. They created a system in which they could retain shadow control over chassis availability while not appearing as the responsible party.
The problem today, with declining intermodal shipping, is with the chassis pools created to give cargo owners a place to obtain a chassis when a shipment needs one. The pools were supposed to provide maintenance services on the units to assure they would be in good repair when they were picked up, reducing the chance of accident. However, there have been many trucker problems with the nature of the chassis use agreements; where they must be dropped off, and when. The words in the story are “denying truckers choice of equipment providers at ports and inland locations”.
I don’t think they will win on that claim. But it’s quite possible that there have been undercharges to ocean carriers and overcharges to truyckers. And since OCEMA, the chassis pool operator, was founded by ocean carriers, it’s probable the charges were arranged in carriers’ favor whenever possible.
There’s no question the truckers, who are on the low end of the totem pole, bear the brunt of the problems. And they have very few ways to try to right things. This is one attempt. There will be more until treatment of truckers is economically fair to them. It may never happen.
Chris Gillis Thursday, August 20, 2020
Thanks to my good friend Chris Clott, ABS Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain at SUNY Maritime, I’m posting a copy of the complaint.
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