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What Is a Chassis in Freight? [A Comprehensive Guide]

Views: 38     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-05-17      Origin: Site

A container chassis is a frame and a set of wheeled containers used to transport cargo. chassis is uniquely designed and reinforced for crane loading and unloading. chassis design includes locking mechanisms to secure containers to the chassis for short or long hauls.  The Chassis needs to charge extra. Although this special mode can reduce the operating cost of the fleet for many years, it has aggravated the congestion of the US shipping routes in the past two years.


In this guide is divided into 5 parts:

· What is a chassis in freight?

· What is a chassis fee?

· What types of container chassis are available?

· The impact of Chassis on sea and rail transportation

· Currently improving


chassis freight


What is a chassis in freight?

In order to rapidly develop their own transportation capacity, American shipowners provide many preferential measures to various customers. For example, in the early 1990s, the benefits of the same price of IPI became the first pot of gold for the first batch of American shipowners.


Compared with the above, the benefits of Chassis were actually born earlier. When container transportation was born in the United States, the ship owner was already responsible for providing frames for the fleet to use. When the network support matures, the shipowner finds that the chassis service is a project that has nothing to do with the main business and has huge additional expenses, so he has been looking for opportunities to exit the frame market. After the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, shipowners finally made up their minds to sell their chassis to relevant leasing companies, thereby getting rid of chassis services.


However, although the shipowner no longer owns chassis, after all, the long-standing operating habits and service-derived functions make it still closely related to chassis leasing company. Moreover, each leasing chassis company even has an exclusive agreement with the ship owner, that is, the fleet can only cooperate with the chassis company designated by the ship owner. Currently, there are 3 well-known chassis rental companies in the United States, with a total of nearly 400,000 chassis.


What is a chassis fee?

Unless one carrier owns the drayage trucks used throughout a shipment, the transfer of a container to a chassis incurs a chassis fee. The chassis fee is a flat fee for FCLs (full container loads) which depends on the trucking company, and a variable fee for LCLs (less than container loads). Chassis fees are also higher for overweight containers that require tri-axle chassis. While somewhat dependent on location, as a general rule, a load weight of more than 36,000 to 37,000 pounds for a 20 foot container or above 44,000 pounds for a 40 foot container classifies as overweight. Chassis fees - sometimes listed as chassis usage fees - are required, and can also include charges for additional days of use.


What types of container chassis are available?

Since there are multiple shipping container dimensions, there must be varied chassis to haul them. Some of the different types of chassis outlined here have specific use cases for short-haul and some for long-haul situations.


· 20ft and 40ft Chassis: Standard international shipping container

· 45ft and 53ft Chassis: Shipping containers used in intermodal drayage

· Two-Axle: Standard chassis configuration for 20ft and 40ft loads

· Three-Axle: Standard chassis configuration for overweight 20ft and 40ft loads

· Extendable: Provides the option to carry various container sizes

· Gooseneck: A chassis with a lower bottom so they can carry taller containers

· Lightweight: A chassis with a lower bottom so they can carry taller containers

· Heavy-Duty: A chassis with a heavy weight, that can carry heavier loads than normal

· Combo: A chassis that can use a 20ft or 40ft application

· Flatbed: A chassis that can hold two 20ft containers or one 40ft container

· Straight Frame: A chassis with no tunnels, where a gooseneck has tunnels

· Rear B-Train: A chassis with back to dock capability, carrying 20ft or 40ft containers



The impact of Chassis on sea and rail transportation


1. Impact on sea shipping


      The mode of shipping is to arrive at the port, and the container directly falls in the container yard, waiting for the fleet to pick up the goods. As a team, you need to go to the leasing company to pick up the chassis of ship owner A, then go to the port area to pick up the cabinet of ship owner A, and then send it to the customer warehouse. According to the efficiency of the United States and the expensive waiting time of the fleet, customers are often accustomed to leaving the chassis and the container together in the factory after unloading, and then having the fleet pull the empty container and chassis back to the port area to return the container after a few days. However, it is possible that after the convoy reaches the port area, it needs to pick up the locker of ship owner B, so that the team has to first return the chassis of ship owner A and then pick up the chassis of ship owner B, and finally go to the port area to propose ship owner B cabinet. The waste of transportation capacity caused by the chassis and the efficiency loss of the frame staying in the factory greatly limit the circulation of chassis, and even there are various embarrassing situations in which there are vehicles but no chassis, which leads to the inability to carry cabinets. In the end, a series of chain reactions such as slow container flow and port congestion were exacerbated.


2. Impact on railway transportation


        The railway mode is completely different from the shipping mode. The containers are often placed on the frame, and the fleet only needs to pick it up directly. We call it the wheeled operation mode. However, the number of chassis is far less than the number of containers, so that more containers have to fall directly into the yard like the port area, and due to space constraints, the containers have to be stacked on top of each other, resulting in the wheeled operation being forced to become grounded operation. However, the long-standing wheeled operation mode makes the railway yard not equipped with the operation capacity of the shipping yard. When the trucks come to pick up the goods, they will be told that the cabinet cannot be picked up due to insufficient cranes, manpower or chassis, which further results in a waste of transportation capacity. 


Currently improving

At present, the congestion situation in the United States has been significantly alleviated. The chassis market, which has always been smooth sailing, has experienced this severe pain and is also accelerating changes. For example, more and more shipowners have abandoned relevant exclusive agreements, and each fleet purchases enough chassis for their own transportation, and railway yards and yards have also begun to consider using grounded operation mode for a long time.


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