Truckers counter ocean carrier effort to dismiss chassis complaint

container chassis

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.