Federal regulators sought to end a decade of controversy over how transportation companies manage equipment for moving international trade, issuing final rules Tuesday outlining key responsibilities in a long-unregulated arena of intermodal transport.
The regulation adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will for the first time require railroads and steamship companies owning intermodal container chassis to share safety responsibility with motor carriers.
The regulation, 10 years in the making and part of the federal highway bill passed in 2005, requires owners of intermodal equipment - many of them railroads and ocean carriers - to register and file with FMCSA a motor carrier identification report.
The companies also will have to establish inspection, repair, and maintenance programs and to provide a means to respond to driver and motor carrier reports about intermodal chassis mechanical defects and deficiencies.
The FMCSA also adopted inspection requirements for motor carriers and drivers operating intermodal equipment. Improved maintenance should result in fewer chassis being placed out-of-service and fewer vehicle breakdowns involving intermodal chassis, the agency said.