What is a chassis?

Chassis, in freight & logistics, refers to a skeleton framework with wheels on it used to move containers. It is also called intermodal chassis or container chassis. Similar to a semi-trailer, a chassis is designed to transport containers between ports, warehouses, shipping facilities, or container depots.

A chassis is made of a sturdy steel frame, a brake system, axles, and tires. A motor carrier, similar to a truck, works as a running gear to wheel them around. Chassis is used for delivering the cargo containers from the vessel to their final destination — significant for inland transportation via trucks or rail.

Chassis is mostly used by truckers to move containers via road, and this type of trucking is called drayage.

Different Types of Container Chassis

Based on its design and application, a container chassis has 3 major categories:

Common Container Chassis

Designed for transporting standard dry containers from one location to another. Common chassis are easy to procure and find; however, loading and unloading these containers are performed through the use of overhead cranes, which comes at additional costs.

These can transport intermodal containers measuring 20ft, 40ft, or 45ft, and high cube container versions.

Tilt Container Chassis

The highlighting feature of this chassis is the easy un/loading process of containers. A tilt chassis has an inbuilt mechanism of upper and lower frames with a hydraulic system. This feature helps in loading and unloading containers without requiring any external equipment.

This special design has a higher cost but is more viable and cost-effective in the longer run.

Extendable Container Chassis

The extendable feature of this chassis allows it to carry containers of any size (standard and non-standard). It is similar to a common container chassis but the back can be extended to fit any container size.

These are suitable for transporting sealed containers and special containers across different countries.

Container Chassis Surcharge

The transfer of a container to its final destination needs a chassis.

Until 2009, Maersk used to supply chassis and related equipment to trucking companies. Their decision to lease the chassis for an added fee resulted in extra charges — termed container chassis surcharge.

Chassis charges are linked to several additional shipping fees like congestion surcharge, terminal handling charges, consolidation fees, and demurrage & detention (D&D) fees, etc.

Due to congestion on ports, procuring a chassis is difficult, which leads to higher D&D charges. To tackle this, opt for a freight forwarder that provides container chassis services along with their containers at reasonable charges.

Terms related to chassis

About Container xChange

Container xChange simplifies the logistics of global trade. We connect all logistics companies through our neutral online infrastructure that connects all logistics companies. Whether you’re in the business of leasing or trading equipment or want to be on top of all container movements, Container xChange supports simplifying and automating those processes. Want to learn more about leasing at xChange? Click here for more information. Interested in trading? Learn more here.