chassis usage fee

What Is a Chassis Usage Fee?

When a laden container arrives at the port of discharge, it’s typically transferred to a temporary yard in the port, before it’s loaded onto the chassis of the consignee’s appointed trucker. In some scenarios, these containers are loaded on a carrier’s chassis instead, which the carrier will charge for. 

The Chassis Usage Fee, also known as the Chassis Usage Charge, is a fee that is imposed by the carrier to the consignee, for using their container chassis. This charge is designed to encourage consignees to have their appointed truckers pick up containers using their own chassis. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Chassis Usage Fees, where they apply, how much carriers charge and who pays for them. There will also be a section that explores ways to potentially avoid container chassis fees and any other fees associated with it. 

Does the Chassis Usage Fee Apply to All Shipments?

Chassis usage fees are only charged by carriers in certain ports and only if carrier-owned chassis are used. In this scenario, the trucker would only arrive with the prime mover or cab, and take the container with the chassis or trailer to the consignee’s premise. 

Take note that chassis usage fees are predominantly charged in the United States. Until recently, carriers have been moving away from the model of supplying their own trailers when releasing containers to truckers for pickup. 

It’s more common nowadays for the trucker of the consignee to pick up laden containers from the port using their own chassis or to use a trailer from the common chassis pool that are offered at some ports in the United States.  

Therefore, chassis usage fees are only applicable for conterized cargo. When shipping LCL, this fee is typically blended into the CBM or overall shipping rate.

How Much Is the Chassis Usage Fee?

Chassis usage fees vary from carrier to carrier, the port they operate from and the chassis availability. Carriers generally charge a chassis usage fee of about $50.00 to $100.00 for the average period of 2 to 3 days. 

However, carriers may also impose a chassis detention charge on a tiered basis ranging from $150.00 to $200.00 if the truck trailers are not returned within the stipulated time frame. 

container being loaded on chassis

It’s also important to know that certain carriers may charge a chassis provision charge for allocated trailers that are not arranged by that particular shipping line. This is usually changed between $25.00 to $50.00 per day. 

An additional misdelivery fee for trailers returned to another location may be billed at about $30.00 to $50.00. As the chassis usage fee and its other associated charges may differ between carriers and location, it’s always best to check beforehand. 

How Is the Chassis Usage Fee Charged?

Chassis Usage Fees are a destination charge and typically charged by the carrier directly to the consignee. There are certain types of arrangements where the shipper may pay for these charges instead. 

How To Avoid Chassis Usage Fees?

When using a carrier-owned chassis, there is no way to avoid the fees associated with it. However, when consignee’s use their own appointed trucking company to arrange the pickup with their own trailers, the chassis usage fee can be avoided. 

Here are a few ways to reduce and even mitigate chassis usage fees:

  • Use external trailers – when the consignee’s appointed trucker picks up the laden containers from the port using their own trailers, carriers will not charge a chassis usage fee. 
  • Return trailers to correct drop-off point – it’s best to avoid any type of accessorial charges by returning the carrier chassis to the agreed drop-off location. 
  • Return trailers on time – carriers usually give about 2 – 3 free days when using their truck chassis. Therefore, it’s important to avoid trailer detention charges by returning the chassis on time.
  • Ship with carriers that don’t charge chassis usage fees – It’s also possible to avoid chassis usage fees when shipping to ports or with carriers that don’t charge this fee. 

Considering the points mentioned above, it’s always good practice to either arrange container pick up through an externally appointed haulage company or to use trailers from the common pool at the discharge port.