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Chassis – The Ultimate FAQ Guide

In this guide, you will find all information you are looking for about Chassis.

So, if you want to learn more about Chassis, read this guide.

What is Chassis in Shipping?

It refers to a structure conceived with wheels specifically for holding shipping containers.

Chassis facilitates the movement of shipping containers into and out of the shipping terminals or container freight stations.



Shipping container on chassis

Shipping container on Chassis

Why do I want a Chassis?

There are a number of reasons why you need chassis.

Some of these include the following:

Facilitates smooth & secure shipping– secure attachment to the chassis-helps prevent unnecessary container movements, thus safer transportation.

Helps align with shipping requirements – With chassis, you can easily load or offload shipping containers. Besides, it helps in counting and storage of shipping containers, alongside other logistics operations.

Cost-effective and quick – Capable of loading several containers in one trip.

Which makes the process quick, so you can deliver goods on time.

As a result, this cuts down on extra costs making the entire process cost-effective.

Bugles on Customer Satisfaction– containers are shipped quickly and safely which improves reliability and scales up the general customer experience.

What is the use of Chassis in the Import and Export of Containerized Freight?

Ocean container chassis are known to poses a variety of functions.

You will use chassis to move shipping containers from one location to another.

Alternatively, you can also use chassis to store the shipping container. This will reduce the extra cost and time of loading or offloading the shipping container.

In addition to the chassis role in drayage options, it supports or bears a load on the body of a ship.

Chassis may as well be used in storage exclusively within any given supply chain. This is as follows;

At the terminal – you can conveniently store the shipping containers on your chassis. This normally happens when the chassis is awaiting collection.

On the other hand, at the facility of a shipper, you can also place shipping containers on the chassis.

Of course, this is after you detach the chassis alongside the container from the truck.

How do Chassis Work?

Over time, a chassis has been identified as the most integral component within any motorized automobile aside from the engine itself.

They are intended to securely attach to the containers.

The container fits firmly onto the Chassis, preventing excess movement.

Depending on the situation at hand you can:

  1. Connect chassis to the truck then load a shipping container or,
  2. Load shipping container to the chassis then attach it to a truck. Here you must esure the chassis has good support to withstand the load.

Once you have attached the chassis to a truck, you can move the container to any place.

How many types of Chassis are there?

There exist different types of Chassis, the 4 major types include;

Gooseneck Chassis – container trailers used in countries with the limit for the utmost height of containers especially for tall and heavy loads.

Gooseneck chassis

Gooseneck chassis

Marine Chassis – It is also known as domestic Chassis.

It refers to an ocean container chassis meant to hold containers in the marine.

This mainly to facilitate movement of trucks amidst shipping facilities and terminals.

Marine chassis

Marine chassis

Bomber Chassis – Bomb carts are employed to shuttle containers within a port.

They need side panels rather than twist locks which allows crane operators to quickly place containers on them to fasten the container ship unloading process.


Bomb cart terminal trailer


Bomb cart terminal trailer

Tank Chassis for Bulk Container- this refers to a characteristically longer type of Chassis with a third deck height.

It is used for portable bulk liquid containers or ISO tank containers.

Chassis for bulk container

Chassis for bulk container

What are the Basic Components of Container Chassis?

Parts of container chassis

Parts of container chassis

Shipping container chassis

Shipping container chassis

Coupling rod– Connects the stabilizer of a vehicle with the Chassis between axles thereby facilitating stability.

Hydraulic shock absorber– comprises of a cylinder crammed with hydraulic oil and a piston which helps it move with every vertical movement of the wheel.

Independent suspensions– they guarantee sure and safe driving characteristics.

As a result, achieving the highest possible comfort.

Rigid axle– mostly used in commercial vehicles and off-road vehicles since they are powerfully built.

Stabilizer– acts as a suspension component. This is to reduce chances of the vehicle rolling.

Suspension link– Absorbs the forces resulting from the driving dynamics.

Suspension spring– helps in compensation of uneven road surfaces and thus assures high comfort levels.

Torsionbeam rear axle– transfers all forces and torques between the wheels and vehicle bodywork.

Wheel bearings– They have many functions such as:

  • Guides and supports shafts/axles
  • Guide the wheels
  • Absorb axial and radial forces

Wheel carrier– a part of the wheel suspension which supports the wheel bearing.

Wheel suspension– a part of the Chassis supporting the wheel system.

Spring strut support bearings– are a part of the spring damping system. They act as the interface between the spring strut and vehicle body.

What are the Notable differences between Ocean Container Chassis and 53′ Intermodal Container Chassis?

An ocean container chassis refers to a mechanical device with an easy design consisting of a frame made of steel, tires, a lighting system, and breaks.

It’s designed specifically for holding marine containers to aid movement between shipping facilities and terminals.

The domestic intermodal container is one that’s usually crammed with freight moving between North American terminals via railroads and doesn’t move by waterborne service.

Domestic intermodal Chassis are usually longer than ocean containers.

It is 53 feet and built to a lighter tare weight standard to accommodate more product.

Consequently, their mode of construction is equal except that there exist differences in terms of height and weight.

A domestic intermodal chassis is bigger in terms of height, a 53-foot weight can range from 500 to 700 lb.

On the other hand, an ocean container Chassis’ weight is approximately 6500 lb.

Most of the 53-feet domestic intermodal Chassis is designed with a certain mechanism.

This mechanism permits the axle of a chassis to be moved forth and back, change the distribution of loads and radius turning while traveling along locally made roads.

When it comes to the 40′ ocean container chassis, it is shorter to capacitate a 53′ domestic intermodal container.

The expected operating lifetime of the two types of Chassis also differs by great lengths.

An ocean container chassis features a lifespan of quite 20 years without being refurbished if properly maintained.

A 53′ intermodal container chassis anticipation is approximately 15 years as it is lightly built thus making it less durable.

53' intermodal container chassis

 53′ intermodal container chassis

How much does a Marine Chassis Cost?

According to equipment providers, there are a variety of international studies that have examined the value price relative to its features.

A chassis being replaced price range is approximately $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the specifications and features. A 53-foot container is about $10,000 to $15,000.

Do Chassis work with Custom-made Containers?

Previous studies indicate an opportunity for a chassis working hand in hand with custom-made containers.

Standard size straight frame chassis is essential for shipping containers without tunnels.

Some custom-built shipping containers are made with no tunnels.

This has made it difficult to fit containers in a gooseneck type of Chassis.

When carrying custom-made containers, one is expected to point out whether the container aligns with a tunnel or not.

The standard recommended size of straight frame chassis carries flat tunnel type of containers at specific dimension.

Are there specific Standards that Chassis must adhere to in Terms of Design and Built?

Basing on research over the past years, studies indicate that there’s an existing research gap on specific specifications that a chassis must adhere to.

We have various sorts of chassis containers, and that they differ greatly by region from one to another thereby bringing about distinctions.

Shipping container chassis design

Chassis design for shipping container

What are the available Tire and Wheel options for Marine Chassis?

It’s recommended a marine chassis comes with 10 by 20 tires on 5 spoke wheels and spring suspension.

Options include air suspension and 11r22.5 tires on 10-hole disc wheels.

What are the 20ft and 40ft Straight Frame Chassis Specifications?

They both exhibit an equivalent specification except for the kingpin location and overall length where they differ greatly.

Overall Length varies for 40ft and 20ft respectively- 40ft- 40′-10″ and 20ft- 23′-6” Retracted; 27′-6” Extended

They both have an overall breadth of 96″.

King Pin Location varies – 40ft has 30″ from the rear face of the front bolster whereas a 20ft has 18” from the front of the Chassis

Joist Height is 48″.

Unladen weight is about 6,600 lb.

Main Rails should have two hot rolled steel, ASTM-A572 Grade 50 “I” beams. The wide flange of 12 inches through 19lb.

They should have a two-speed mechanism and square leg tubing landing gears with 10″ by 10″ low profile sandshoes

It entails a suspension hutch consisting of three leaf springs each 11,000 lb.

Also, they should have at least two axles of 5-inch round and 22,500 lb.

They beam specifications should have the following each; 16.5 by 7-inch Q brakes and slack adjusters preferably automated ones.

It should have anti-lock braking system; Meritor Wabco 2S/1M and a 30/30 Spring brake chambers

The recommended type of tires; 10 by 20 tires on 5 spoke wheels

It has a 12 volt electrical system with a 7-way plug type of connectors, lights, and sealed wire harnesses.

Twist Locks are mandatory for casting steel to interact with ISO corner castings

The preferred type of paint is commercial sandblast, primer, and a top-quality paint system

Others include; Bumper, Conspicuity Tape and 24 by 30 Mud Flaps

How has the Chassis Market evolved over the Last years?

The use of containers in Europe began as early as the 1960s.

The development of intermodal facilities at various locations succeeded in the establishment of the Chassis management model.

Similar developments are reported in Asia and other major global destinations.

The use of the Chassis model is postulated to experience a 7 seven-fold growth in CAGR.

The predicted growth is attributed to evolving adoption of manufacturing technologies and the underlying selection of material.

These developments have increased the competitiveness of automobile dealers and organizations.

Studies show Aluminum Chassis has the very best revenue generation.

In addition, fiber and resin-based material are predicted to grow over time in the market in the future.

Manufacturers are obliged to specialize in alternative materials to produce cost-efficient and high-strength Chassis.

What role do Shipping Lines Play within the Chassis Market?

 COSCO Shipping Company

 COSCO Shipping company

A shipping line is a corporation that deals with vessel operation alongside ownership, liable for easy transportation of cargo aboard their ships.

They handle the cargo from where they originate to their terminals majorly from one port to another, transiting regular routes aboard their vessels on fixed schedules.

So they depend on the Chassis to receive containers.

What are the Road Weight Limitations and Chassis Specifications?

Keeping consistency in weight standards could also be challenging.

This is because countries have different weight standards on various cases.

Therefore it is difficult to develop the recommended standards for every specific case.

Recommended standard on the maximum gross weight of a rigid vehicle isn’t specified.

Most countries greatly vary in their maximum gross weight limits and therefore the mode values.

For instance, 32 tones are only utilized in 5 countries.

The six countries with the very best road freight volumes have either no adequate standards or unique limits.

Recent studies show 32 tones is suggested for the Recommended Standard by EU on the maximum gross weight of a rigid vehicle.

Who are the Operators of Chassis within the Shipping Industry?

Some of the main operators are:

  • Truckers
  • Railroads
  • Ports
  • Shippers
  • Pool Managers

What are the Common causes of Chassis Shortages?

The Roadability Rule (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)) – Enforcement of this rule became effective to date.

It has been of great impact on safety despite adding costs and delays all around.

Most of the Chassis is not serviced because of the low cost-benefit that they may lead to.

Exiting Ocean Carriers – For several years, steamship lines owned the container chassis.

The steamship lines were rented to logistic drivers at agreed-upon costs.

With the new Roadability rule in place and the extremely increasing costs related to pooling chassis, most of the ocean carriers are gradually running out of business.

Chassis pool

 Chassis pool

Down Economy – After Roadability Rule enforcement was announced, it became critical for adoption.

This forced many companies to reconsider their approach towards Gizx and the long-term objectives of 8ZX.

What Effects does Inadequate Chassis Service Wear Shipping?

Cargo disruption – normal cargo flow is disrupted by a seismic and surprise external shock.

It may be a financial crisis, cyber-attack, trade war, or a worldwide pandemic causing a huge disruption within the system thereby exposing its underlying weaknesses.

Delays– thanks to the independence of equipment-leasing companies, very often there could also be a surplus of Chassis in one terminal and a desperate shortage at subsequent

How do Ports Ensure Sufficient Chassis availability?

Launching of grey pool arrangements referred to as a pool of pools.

With this, a chassis carrying a container for one shipping line at one location might be reused to hold a container belonging to a different location.

Shippers can expect fewer delays and greater efficiency, as they’re furnished with many Chassis at each ramp location.

Coming up with technology that tracks utilization, turn time, and site.

This ensures there’s the right number of Chassis at every ramp and may keep shippers’ freight moving.

What is Chassis Leasing?

This refers to an instance where a company leases a chassis to maneuver a shipping container to or from an ocean container port or a rail yard.

What are the Available Chassis Rental Models within the Shipping Industry?

There are 3 ways to lease Chassis; chassis pools, term leases, and daily rentals. The only existing difference is the length of time one is charged to use the Chassis.

Who Leases a Chassis?

The majority of the chassis usage remains to the account of the trucker who is contracted by the last word customer.

This suggests that the trucker is now passing along a chassis usage fee to the last word buyer of the transportation.

However, we’ve importers and exporters, also as Third-Party Logistics companies.

They take hold of this cost by procuring Chassis directly using one among the above options.

As a Shipper, What are the Benefits of Shopping for my Own Chassis?

Some of the benefits include:

  • This leads to reduced maintenance charges
  • Generally, the trucker can depreciate this capital expense
  • Consistent and cost-efficient shipping
  • Increased availability- easily accessible when needed
  • Reduced downtime and improved reliability
  • Improved service and cargo acceptance
  • Improved safety

What is a ”Gray” Pool in Chassis Service?

The gray pool maybe a pool during which multiple IEPs contribute Chassis to one pool.

This allows truckers to use any of the contributed IEPs’ Chassis for any move.

Normally, this is despite the ocean carrier’s container being moved.

What does ”Open Choice” mean within the Chassis Market?

This is the capability of a shipper or trucker to make a decision that IEP is employed in merchant haulage contractual agreements.

That is, to supply a chassis for moving a container between terminals, instead of having the ocean carrier make that call.

What Challenges am I likely to Face with Chassis during International Shipping?

Cost– Profit margins have become a challenge as costs scale-up throughout the availability chain network.

The costs arise from many areas such hiring chassis, unforeseen delays, and accidents, alongside other factors.

Accessibility– time is taken to try chassis splits. Electronic logging devices adherently evaluate the 660 minutes daily for drivers who are often behind the wheel.

This implies that any time spent trying to find a chassis limits the time available to deliver cargo.

Quality of Chassis available– In many years, inclemency became a problem.

Resulting in some chassis being inoperable and resulting in aggressive reposition of chassis providers.

How am I able to Mitigate Chassis Challenges?

The most common challenges experienced by chassis users are shortages and other costs that come along.

To cub this, most truckers and even BCOs tend to shop for their Chassis with higher quality elements.

This ensures a frequent maintenance schedule and also helps them cut costs.

Data collection and predictive analytics which is caused by companies leasing Chassis, researchers, and developers of underlying technologies.

It’s also emerging as a key tool to enhance chassis accessibility and cargo velocity at marine terminals.

Forecasting comes as a challenge; including the need to predict the time of the return of Chassis to the terminals or when they are going to be available.

Equally, prediction is required beforehand to promote the ability of IEP to assemble the number of Chassis expected to be needed on a timely basis.

Take for example, company (American Intermodal Management) install in all its Chassis:

  • GPS locator
  • An accelerometer for communicating speed, direction, and distance
  • Load sensor that notes and communicates when a container is mounted or dismounted permits shippers to trace cargo

They use data gained to improve performance in the operation of networks.

What are the Key Drivers of Chassis usage?

In most cases export and import volumes will determine the usage of chassis.

What are Container Chassis Regulations?

The United Nations and sponsored organizations have over the years voiced their concerns over international conventions.

Thereby developed laws for chassis regulations to meet the national requirements. They are listed below.

Customs Convention on containers– Effective since 1972. Plays a vital role in recognizing containers as Instruments of International Traffic (IIT).

Thereby coming up with a framework where containers can be used in international transportation.

TIR convention 1975- (UNECE) – Develops a framework for road transportation internationally.

ISO Standards– {the world organization for standardization’s (ISO) International Standards for freight containers and Chassis.

It gives room for the box to become the backbone of worldwide supply chains.

They also cover a good sort of aspects of various sorts of containers.

Roadability Regulations– Since 2009(US Federal of Motor Carrier Safety Administration) plays a role in establishing safety laws and regulations for inspection, repair, and maintenance of intermodal Chassis thus enhancing safe operation.

US safe port act of 2006¬- (US Department of Homeland Security) Comes up with security regulations for intermodal container operation within the US.

Is there a Difference Between US Chassis and those from other Parts of the World?

Ocean container chassis from the US differ slightly from those from other parts of the world.

In the US, they are built specifically to support specific container sizes and have fixed dimensions.

Usually, they are lighter than those from other countries.

This is because the US features a national gross vehicle weight standard of 80,000 lbs. on interstate highways which is less than most other nations.

An ideal ocean container chassis within the US is characterized by two axles.

Heavier container chassis that are tri-axle is usually less common within the US as compared to other parts of the planet.

They consists of about five percent of the US chassis fleet.

What is the Liability Regimen for Container Chassis?

Due to high truck road-related accidents within the recent past within the U.S, third-party liability coverage for Chassis has become significant to an equipment provider.

While there’s no particular third-party liability coverage of minimum requirement for ocean carriers, it’s customary to hold a minimum of 20 million dollars for insurance.

That is with even greater amounts being carried by chassis pools.

This also demands that repair and maintenance companies have optimal insurance coverage.

Also, the liability regime could also be an element to be considered by purchasers of intermodal transportation.

What is Wheeled vs. Grounded Operations in Chassis?

Grounded container operations are said to be the best quality type of model in the world.

In this kind of setting, containers are stacked on the terminal yard with the help of rubber-tired gantries (RTGs) or straddle carriers.

Grounded operations have an added advantage over wheeled operations since they have higher storage capacity.

Wheeled operations, usually transfer containers with one lift.

But require a significantly larger fleet of Chassis, more land for storage, and containers on Chassis.

What is Chassis Flip?

Chassis flip refers to an instance where there’s a need to move containers from one stalled Chassis to another resting chassis.

What are Some Common Reasons for Chassis Flips?

Some of the reason include the following:

  • When there’s a nasty order chassis
  • Due to mismatched container and Chassis
  • When the driving force brings Chassis they own at terminals that are wheeled
  • A point where the Chassis cannot go beyond the terminal
  • When the container is stored on a chassis that cannot capacitate the weight of the container.

What is the difference between Rail and Terminal Operations with regards to Chassis?

There is a growing preference for wheeled operations at rail terminals as compared to marine terminals.

Rail terminal structures include the majority of wheeled operations while marine terminals are mostly grounded partially.

Thereby, rendering grounded the most commonly used model.

Research indicates opportunities have been opened by TOFC.

For rail terminals to limit the preference of wheeled operations to higher quality grounded operations.

This is important for Chassis specifically located at terminals that are wheeled where they serve as storage sites.

Conversion of wheeled operations for ground terminal operations is often challenging.

Since both rails terminal ought to handle both trailers and containers.

Unlike Marine terminals, rail chassis terminals have a higher tendency of Chassis and containers that are mismatched.

A reason as to why railroads can handle the equipment from different ocean carriers which are frequently owned by chassis pools that are different.

A railroad chassis, therefore, stores more different variants of Chassis.

This incorporates local Chassis, also as various sizes of marine Chassis.

When it comes to container pickups, the rail road’s terminals have generally had shorter free time allowances.

This ends up in shorter chassis dwell times as opposed to marine terminals.

At BanSar we help you in all freight forwarding from China to any global destination.

Contact us now for all your shipping needs from China.

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