The American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference has filed suit with the Federal Maritime Commission in an effort to protect truck drivers from being forced to use overpriced chassis that are not always up to safety standards.
According to the suit, foreign-owned ocean shipping lines' alleged unjust and unreasonable conduct is in violation of the Shipping Act, overcharging truckers and their customers for intermodal container chassis at ports and inland terminals throughout the U.S.
“For more than a decade, these foreign-owned companies have worked together to take advantage of hard-working American trucking companies,” said Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice president for advocacy. “By denying truckers choice of equipment providers at port and inland locations, these unscrupulous companies have been forcing American truckers and American consumers to subsidize their costs to the tune of nearly $1.8 billion over the last three years alone."
According to Sullivan, after numerous attempts to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, the group is now asking the Federal Maritime Commission to step in and resolve it.
IMCC alleges that the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association and 11 ocean carriers have denied trucking companies choice when leasing this essential equipment, forcing unjust and unreasonable prices upon trucking companies. In an effort to avoid legal action, IMCC sent a cease-and-desist letter to OCEMA and the ocean carriers in May, but OCEMA failed to address the violations that were raised, it says.
“By denying motor carriers their choice of chassis provider to haul goods in and out of ports, OCEMA’s overseas members have held US motor carriers hostage and forced them to subsidize the shipping lines,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, and president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight. “So far OCEMA and its members have rejected all of our attempts to reach a fair and equitable arrangement, but we believe they’ll have less success ignoring the FMC.”
In its complaint, the IMCC lists the ongoing violations of the Shipping Act. The group is seeking injunctive relief against OCEMA and the shipping lines.