Chassis Models

Changes in the Provision of Chassis in the U.S. Intermodal Industry

Historically, ocean carriers in the U.S. have provided chassis to their customers.   There has been a growing trend in the U.S. for the ocean carriers to no longer provide chassis for their shipments under certain conditions.   Many ocean carriers have made public announcements of their policies on provision of chassis.  Most of these announcements have been summarized by ocean carrier and metro city on the web site

Typically, the ocean carrier is contractually obligated to provide a chassis for its containers on the ocean terminal or rail facility.  The ocean carrier’s responsibility for on-terminal use of chassis means that the usage on the terminal is for account of the ocean carrier or its designated chassis provider.  The subsequent off terminal usage begins when the chassis leaves the terminal. 

Often when an ocean carrier nominates its on-terminal agent, the same chassis will be used for off-terminal use.   The option to use a different chassis requires a change in the chassis (“flip”) and its associated expense.   

In many cases, an ocean carrier may have declared that it is not providing chassis under certain terms.  When an ocean carrier is providing store-door delivery it may prefer to arrange for the provision of chassis with a designated chassis provider and receive a summarized chassis expense.  This approach eliminates administration for all, since the alternative is for motor carriers arranging and paying for chassis, who then must re-invoice the ocean carrier on every move.  So although an ocean carrier may have announced that it is not providing chassis to its customers, it may actually continue to do so under certain terms (e.g. store door deliveries).  

CCM operates chassis pools with many types of participants - ocean carriers, leasing companies, motor carriers and other entities sourcing chassis from the CCM pools.  Each of these entities utilize pool chassis themselves or provide the pool chassis to their customers under their own commercial arrangements.  Since the chassis within the CCM pools are “gray” (the same fleet is shared by all), it is not easy to identify a change in the chassis provider at the out-gate.

Currently, CCM pools use the traditional model of defaulting the off-terminal usage to the previous on-terminal chassis provider.    For each chassis use, CCM does not know who the chassis provider will invoice for the chassis expense, i.e. motor carrier or ocean carrier.  Because the commercial arrangements are not known before the chassis is used, the chassis provider defaults to the on-terminal provider.

An appointment system or other process to identify the chassis provider of the off terminal usage would be ideal but is not available in all locations.  

CCM’s chassis pools are evolving to allow for the motor carrier selection of the chassis provider to be made prior to the out-gate. 

Usage Assignment Models

Traditional Model

This model is used when the line or chassis provider joins a CCM pool and are assigned a usage day for each day they use a chassis.

New Paradigm - default Usage Assignment

This model is used when the line indicates that they are no longer providing chassis but they have commercial agreements in place. To ensure accurate billing to motor carriers all pool usage is assigned to the chassis provider and the chassis provider distills the commercial data and bills the appropriate party.

New Paradigm - customer choice by  exception usage assignment

This model is used when the line indicates that they are no longer providing chassis and usage is switched based on the customer (motor carrier, BCO, NVO, Shipper) selecting an alternate chassis provider. This is only available when the line has indicated that they allow exceptions to their normally dedicated use assignment.


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Membership in CCM pools is available to a broad range of intermodal industry participants, including ocean carriers, shippers/consignees, equipment leasing companies, motor carriers, terminal operators, logistics companies and other entities that wish to contribute and use pool chassis.