ATA supports a stronger, more unifying and effective voice for the large and growing intermodal motor carrier sector before both government and private entities on key issues including roadability, economic and operational fairness and infrastructure efficiencies.
Roadability/chassis safety was considered and approved by Congress and signed into law in August 10, 2005. Included in the measure (Section 4118) was the legislative language developed by the IMCC led industry coalition of motor carriers, ocean carriers and railroads. The law now mandates that intermodal equipment providers are legally responsible for the condition of their equipment and must establish and maintain systematic maintenance and repair programs and only make available for driver/motor carrier interchange equipment that is Roadable-Safe.
The conference has and will continue to support the requirement that chassis providers be responsible for and maintain, repair and deploy equipment that is Roadable-Safe before it is offered for interchange. Unfortunately FMCSA regulatory enforcement has to date be ineffective, and as a result, drivers are still being held responsible for chassis equipment deficiencies identified during roadside inspections that were not roadable when interchanged. The conference will therefore continue to press the agency to step up equipment audits and enforcement to improve the condition of the intermodal chassis fleet and insure that CSA scores for intermodal carriers and drivers are not unfairly impacted by chassis-equipment deficiencies that should be charged to the equipment provider.
Port Clean Truck Programs
In an effort to reduce air related emissions generated by port freight transport activities, numerous ports around the country have establish “clean” truck programs which require, either through voluntary of mandatory edicts, that older trucks be retired/replaced by 07 engine or better EPA compliant trucks. Unfortunately, in an effort to increase its membership, the Teamsters are working to have ports include in these clean truck programs a requirement that port drayage drivers be employees and not independent owner-operator (OO) drivers as the vast majority are today. If port drivers are required to be employees, the Teamsters can legally attempt to organize this work force which heretofore they cannot due under the current OO dominate work force. The Port of LA included such a requirement in its program, but the successful legal challenge initiated by ATA-IMCC blocked that provision which was declared to be federally preempted by the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.
While the conference will continue to support reasonable port clean truck programs, we will likewise continue to oppose efforts by the Teamsters and their allies to mandate employee driver status for port drayage. Such mandates are clearly preempted by federal statute and employee mandates are in no way related to the truck emission goals of port clean truck programs. We will likewise continue to support the EPA Smart Way Port Drayage Program and work with the numerous port related industry groups that support voluntary efforts to address intermodal container freight transport emissions related issues.
ATA and the IMCC have consistently supported the CSA program and its goal of targeting unsafe operators so as to change their behavior. But we have likewise continue to raise concerns regarding substantive problems with the current design of CSA and how these flaws, if not corrected, will profoundly impact the trucking industry and highway safety. IMCC members also have a particular problem with the CSA program because our safety scores are being unfairly impacted by improperly assigned deficiencies found on the intermodal chassis during roadside inspections. Under the Roadability regulations, chassis – vehicle #2 deficiencies should instead be charged to the intermodal equipment provider.
The conference strongly supports the ATA effort to change/modify CSA regulatory elements so that the program will indeed efficiently and fairly serve to improve highway safety. In addition, the conference will continue to press the agency to step up intermodal equipment audits and enforcement to improve the condition of the intermodal chassis fleet and insure that CSA scores for intermodal carriers and drivers are not unfairly impacted by chassis-equipment deficiencies that should in most cases be charged to the equipment provider.
Intermodal Chassis Ownership and Deployment
Over the last several years, ocean carriers, that have historically provided chassis for the transport of intermodal freight containers, have announced and in some cases implemented plans to no longer provide these chassis. This withdrawal from providing equipment necessary for international container transport is creating market complications for customers, motor carriers and chassis suppliers. Unless there is a paradigm shift in emerging chassis supply methods, the ocean carriers will indeed exit the chassis supply business but their inefficient chassis management practices and old decaying chassis fleets will remain the norm and just be provided under new management. Facing this dilemma, the IMCC is evaluating the opportunity of forming a new motor carrier owned company to provide a national pool of international chassis which will be more modernized and roadable and will be managed and deployed in a more competitive, equitable and efficient manner than emerging models would or could offer.
The IMCC will continue to pursue a business model chassis solution which will:
- Promote enhanced intermodal freight transportation through a national pool of fully interchangeable chassis suitable for international ISO containers (“gray” chassis fleet);
- Provide intermodal freight stakeholders with a supply of safe, roadable chassis consistent with the requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
- Maximize chassis efficiency, utilization, and flexibility;
- Provide an efficient means for chassis purchasing, financing, distribution, servicing, maintenance, refurbishment, and retirement;
- Modernize the international container chassis fleet; and
- Make chassis available under the terms of the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA).