Chassis Complaint Before the Federal Maritime Commission: IMCC vs. OCEMA
We’re alerting you to a complex issue that is currently playing out within the realm of the Federal Maritime Commission. It could result in a change to the structure of business within the transportation and drayage network within the U.S.
In mid-August, the American Trucking Association’s Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference (IMCC) filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission against OCEMA and 11 ocean carriers for violation of the Shipping Act.
The complaint alleges that the carriers “have adopted and imposed unjust and unreasonable regulations and engaged in unjust and unreasonable 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, all in violation of 46 U.S.C. 41102(c).” They further allege that these practices have resulted in $1.8 billion in overcharges for marine chassis. OCEMA and the carriers filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, alleging that the FMC’s jurisdiction does not apply to domestic transportation activities between ocean carriers and truckers. They further stated that ocean carriers should be “free to structure their relationships with shippers and chassis providers as they see fit.”
On October 5th, the IMCC filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the respondent’s motion to dismiss. The IMCC in their response said that the FMC has jurisdiction under the 1984 Shipping Act to pursue the complaint since the carriers’ involvement with chassis equipment is related to tariffs and contracts and has an impact on port efficiency around the country. Looking forward, the initial decision of the proceeding will be issued by August 24, 2021, and the final decision of the commission will be issued by March 10, 2022.
Chassis ownership, management and control continue to be controversial and fluid issues. As recent volumes spikes have shown, the method for deploying an and managing chassis is critical to smooth cargo movements. MGM will be closely monitoring all developments on this matter due to its possible profound effect on the interchange of chassis equipment throughout the country.