by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Truck chassis are the trailers that trucks use to move shipping containers. One of the many problems facing supply chains has been a chassis shortage.
American companies have been unable to purchase enough chassis to meet their needs partly because the federal government instituted a combination of tariffs and duties in 2021 that amount to an effective ban on importing truck chassis from China, where the world’s largest truck-chassis manufacturer is located. Domestic manufacturers were left to pick up the slack.
I wrote against these tariffs in November 2021. In that article, I said that domestic manufacturers were struggling to meet America’s chassis needs, and orders would only begin to be delivered in the second half of 2022.
Well, it’s the second half of 2022, and domestic chassis manufacturers are still behind.
The Journal of Commerce reports:
“North American chassis manufacturers have run into production delays in 2022 for the second consecutive year, slowed by difficulties in sourcing raw components and retaining factory workers, which means widespread shortages of marine chassis may persist until 2024. …”
… It turns out that it’s really hard to make something in a different country just because government decides it wants it made there. “According to chassis manufacturers, the construction of a single chassis requires raw materials and subcomponents from between 20 and 30 separate suppliers,” the JOC story says. Those suppliers have been unable to meet producers’ needs.
Chassis manufacturers have been finding it difficult to hire and retain factory workers. “Many of the new employees the company [Pratt Intermodal] hired in 2022 quit after completing their training, and long-time veterans have become wary of rejoining a sector with a history of cutting jobs at the first sign of a downturn,” the story says. Politicians often yearn for the return of manufacturing jobs to America, but American workers seem less enthusiastic.