USDA Grain Transportation Report (2/23): FMC Rules in Favor of Truckers in Chassis Lawsuit

According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, on February 6, a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chief administrative law judge ruled that ocean carriers could not lawfully require motor carriers to use specific intermodal chassis providers to move containers: such requirements were ruled to be in violation of the U.S. Shipping Act.

The ruling represents a first step toward granting trucking companies and shippers more autonomy in choosing chassis providers, and if upheld, would help reduce delays and cut costs for trucking firms and shippers, including agricultural exporters.

The ruling applies to four regions—Chicago, IL; Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA; Memphis, TN; and Savannah, GA.

The decision follows a complaint filed in August 2020 by the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference. The complaint alleged that a national chassis pool operator and 11 ocean carriers had denied motor carriers the right to choose by requiring them—upon paying for chassis—to use specific default chassis providers.

Parties in the case have 22 days (from February 6) to file an appeal to deny all or part of the motions included in the decision.