The FMC is looking into Chinese control of containers and equipment to move them. Most containers and chassis are produced in China. So says Carl Bentzel, an FMC commissioner.
China certainly has a large stake in production of both containers and chassis. There are three state-owned firms in China that dominate container production. Even with elevated prices recently, it is still about the same cost to buy a new container in China for the voyage to the US, or to recycle one from the West Coast of the US. Even if you would rather recycle an empty container, the ocean shipping firms can affect that balance by refusing to pick empties up at say Long Beach or Los Angeles, or delay their transit by long enough to cause headaches for those who need them by a certain date.
If empty containers build up in the US, tying up chassis as well, that’s a form of industrial pollution. Having to spend large sums for storage yards rather than getting them back to China is an environmental cost that should not have to be borne by US local governments and citizens.
It’s certainly worth an investigation and perhaps some action by the US government.
John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent Thursday, May 6, 2021US regulator probing China’s role in container shortage – FreightWaves