The chassises used for hauling these containers have been in rough condition. Lights did not work. Tires were poor. They were a rolling advertisement for road un-safety. These rolling road hazards were allowed on our highways until just a few years ago when responsibility for the chassis was being passed onto the motor carrier. This helped as many companies invested into their own chassises for transportion of the ocean containers. Due to this change, most of us have noticed a large introduction of new chassises on the roadway and in the ports. This was a costly but nice change. Personally, I always felt placing this on the motor carrier was wrong.
This new ruling shares the responsibility between the intermodal equipment provider, motor carrier and driver. Since all are responsible, in their own aspect, for highway safety; this may be a more fair method of distributing responsibility.
...but for the Port workers who carry these containers for a living, I have to wonder if this increased responsibility along with the current Clean Air rules at the Ports in Southern CA will not have an adverse effect on the industry. Let's see what 2009 brings!
FMCSA Issues Rule to Improve the Safety of Equipment Used in the Transportation of Intermodal Containers
WASHINGTON—New rules issued today will significantly strengthen safety requirements for intermodal container chassis, the special trailers that hold cargo containers when they are transferred from ship or rail to truck for final delivery, announced John H. Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
"We want to ensure that every piece of equipment traveling on our highways is operating safely," said FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill. "These new rules will bring new safety and enforcement focus on the chassis and equipment used to haul goods on our nation’s roads every day," Hill said.
The new regulations make intermodal equipment providers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the first time, and establish shared safety responsibility among intermodal equipment providers, motor carriers, and drivers.
Beginning in December 2009, intermodal equipment providers must have in effect regular and systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance programs for intermodal chassis; they will also need to track defects reported and repairs made. By December 2010, each intermodal provider is required to identify its equipment with a USDOT number. FMCSA’s final rule also outlines inspection requirements for motor carriers and drivers operating intermodal equipment.
Intermodal equipment providers will be subject to on-site reviews to ensure compliance with the new rules. Penalties for violating these rules range from civil fines to a prohibition on providing or operating intermodal equipment found to pose an imminent hazard.
The final rule on this Intermodal Chassis is available for review at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.asp?ruleid=257&year=2008&cat=final.