Inside Logistics

IMCC sues OCEMA to stop overcharging truckers

Suit alleges truckers have been overcharged for intermodal container chassis at ports and inland terminals

August 21, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference (IMCC) filed suit with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission this week, alleging foreign-owned ocean shipping lines engaged in unjust and unreasonable conduct in violation of the Shipping Act. The suit alleges their unlawful actions have overcharged truckers and their customers as much as US$1.8 billion in the past three years for intermodal container chassis at ports and inland terminals throughout the United States.

“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. This must end, and after several attempts to come to a mutually beneficial resolution, we are now asking the FMC to resolve it.”

IMCC filed its complaint with the FMC on August 17, alleging that the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) and 11 ocean carriers (Consolidated Chassis Management, LLC; CMA CGM S.A.; COSCO Shipping Lines Co. Ltd.; Evergreen Line Joint Service agreement; Hapag-Lloyd AG; HMM Co. Ltd.; Maersk A/S; MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.; Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd.; Wan Hai Lines Ltd.; Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.; and Zim Integrated Shipping Services) have denied trucking companies choice when leasing this essential equipment, forcing unjust and unreasonable prices upon trucking companies.

Hoping to avoid legal action, IMCC sent a Cease and Desist letter to OCEMA and to the ocean carriers in May, but OCEMA failed to address the violations that were raised.

“By denying motor carriers their choice of chassis provider to haul goods in and out of ports, OCEMA’s overseas members have held U.S. 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, which can be read here, the IMCC outlined a number of ongoing violations of the Shipping Act and is seeking injunctive relief against OCEMA and the shipping lines.