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Chassis Tariff Worsens Supply-Chain Problems

The supply-chain bottleneck could be eased with the removal of a large tariff placed on a type of trucking equipment from China, according a report in The Washington Times.

What it is: “In May, the Commerce Department imposed a 221% tariff on Chinese trucking chassis. Truckers use these specialized trailers to deliver containers filled with all kinds of consumer goods to ports, rail yards and stores. The tariff is on top of the 25% that the Trump administration levied on chassis from China, the world’s largest manufacturer. Combined, the tariffs add roughly $25,000 to the price of a chassis, which used to cost about $12,000.”

  • The Commerce Department has said imposing the tariff was a necessity because less expensive Chinese imports of the part had harmed U.S. manufacturers and resulted in layoffs. 

Why it matters: The chassis tariff led to a chassis shortage, which hamstrung truckers’ ability to transport the backlogged goods sitting at U.S. ports.

  • “A coalition of U.S. chassis manufacturers in October urged President Biden to resist pressure to remove the tariff. They said the tariff has enabled them to hire hundreds of people and increase their production capacity by 400%.”

Making matters worse? The labor shortage at ports is making the dearth of chassis worse. “Hundreds of thousands of chassis are idling at ports across the country. Those chassis are being used to hold empty shipping containers while workers struggle to clear out the backlog.”

  • The chassis shortage has upped costs for truckers, who are already struggling with inflation and higher gas prices.
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