Trucking scores win in intermodal container complaint

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Updated Feb 7, 2023
Semi hauling an intermodal container
IMCC filed the suit Aug. 17, alleging that the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) and 11 ocean carriers “have denied trucking companies choice when leasing this essential equipment, forcing unjust and unreasonable prices upon trucking companies.”

A Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) administrative law judge ruled Monday that ocean carriers could not lawfully require that motor carriers use specific intermodal chassis providers to move containers.

The American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference (IMCC) in August 2020 filed a complaint against the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, Consolidated Chassis Management and the world’s largest ocean carriers alleging they violated the Shipping Act by requiring carriers to use specific default chassis providers and denying motor carriers the right to select the chassis provider for merchant haulage movements.

IMCC Executive Director Jonathan Eisen said ocean carriers' practices of prohibiting motor carriers from using the provider of their choice when they are paying for the chassis has held U.S. motor carriers hostage and forced them to subsidize the shipping lines.

“This victory has been a longtime coming,” said IMCC Executive Director Jonathan Eisen, who called the decision "the first step in putting a stop to the practice of foreign-owned shipping lines forcing American drivers and motor carriers to use specific equipment providers to move goods – which will help reduce supply chain delays and cut costs for carriers and consumers. We are pleased the judge agreed and we look forward to ending these unreasonable and unjust practices permanently.”

IMCC claimed that the “unjust and unreasonable conduct” resulted in trucking companies and their customers for intermodal chassis at ports being overcharged by as much as $1.8 billion over the the three years prior to the complaint's filing. 

Ocean carriers named in the lawsuit include: Consolidated Chassis Management; Cosco Shipping Lines; Evergreen Line Joint Service Agreement, FMC No. 911982; Hapag-Lloyd AG; HMM Co.; Maersk A/S; MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.; Ocean Network Express; Wan Hai Lines; Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.; and Zim Integrated Shipping Services.