Welcome to our comprehensive guide on 'What is a Chassis Split.' You will pay additional handling for extraction and delivery if needed when transporting containers. One such process is chassis splitting, common in container drayage and intermodal transport at ports. This article will elucidate a chassis split and its significance in the industry.

What is a Chassis?

A chassis is a steel frame equipped with wheels that links to a semi-truck to facilitate cargo container transportation.

what is a chasis split

What is a Chassis Split?

A chassis split occurs when the chassis and the shipping container are not in the same location. Truckers must travel to a designated place, often far from the port, to pick up the chassis before proceeding to collect the freight. Chassis split charges cover the cost of transporting the chassis to the container's location, resulting in additional fees.

During a chassis split, truckers rent a chassis from an intermodal equipment provider (IEP) on a short-term or daily basis. The trucker picks up the chassis, collects the container from the terminal, and delivers it to the shipper. Depending on equipment compatibility, the chassis may be reused, or if not, the original chassis is returned, and the correct one is chosen.

Chassis splits can lead to unplanned delays in delivery schedules. When chassis are unavailable at the port, shippers may need to travel far to find suitable equipment, causing delays in goods delivery. This delay may result in extended wait times for goods, potentially leading to business losses.

When Does Chassis Split Occur?

A chassis split occurs when there is a shortage of available chassis at the port. There are generally two forms of chassis split, including the pick-up and return processes during chassis transport.

Scenario 1: Split Pick-up

This occurs when the port or carrier handling the loaded container does not provide a chassis. In such cases, the truck driver must individually visit the chassis supplier to retrieve the chassis before picking up a container.

Scenario 2: Chassis Split Return

After finishing the transport of the container, the driver needs to return the chassis. However, if the port or carrier's warehouse does not accept the chassis due to policy or space constraints, the chassis must be delivered to a different location.

A single shipment may require both split pick-up and split return, resulting in two chassis fees. However, the freight forwarder typically makes the ultimate decision to perform a chassis split based on transportation conditions and strategies.

Contact us for a Freight Quote from China. 

what is a chasis split

How to Avoid Chassis Split?

While chassis splits are sometimes necessary for optimizing logistics supply chains, they can impact delivery times and incur additional costs. Here are some tips you can consider to avoid them:

  • Customized Chassis.

You can consider customizing specific chassis to handle the complexities of container transport. This approach can enhance trucking efficiency and reduce the risk of delays. However, be mindful that maintenance and upkeep costs for customized chassis may be higher.

  • Logistics Strategic Partnerships.

Consider establishing partnerships with reliable logistics providers like JIKE Logistics. Unlike a trailer driver, they also handle container transport and typically do not charge extra for chassis split fees.

  • Optimize Container Weight.

Overloading a container can cause the chassis to split; understanding and following this can avoid such problems.

  • Own your own fleet of chassis.

Consider having your own drayage and trucking fleet if your budget and facility space allow. Importantly, this gives you full control over the chassis location for your peak-season container transport.

By implementing these strategies, you can reduce the likelihood of chassis splits, ensuring smoother logistics operations and mitigating potential disruptions in your supply chain.

What is a Chassis Split Fee?

what is a chassis split

The Chassis split fee is a charge incurred when truck drivers travel to a location separate from the container to obtain an available chassis. This fee forms part of the origin or destination charges, typically ranging between $50 to $110.

1) How is the Chassis split fee Charged?

Chassis split fees are typically calculated and collected upon delivery. The charges vary based on factors such as the type of container, chassis frame supplier, and truck carrier. These fees may be integrated into the overall transportation cost or presented as a separate line item on the invoice.

For instance, a fixed fee may be levied for a full container load, while less than a full container shipment may incur charges based on the volume of the cargo. 

Additionally, chassis split fees always encompass labor and equipment costs associated with the chassis transport process. This is contingent on the location and the specific conditions of the chassis split, including the distance between the container location and the chassis or any extra services required.

2) Can Chassis Split Fees be Negotiated?

Yes. Since truck drivers collect chassis fees from shippers or consignees, you have the option to collaborate with a trustworthy freight agent who will negotiate on your behalf.

Furthermore, avoiding overnight pick-ups is a reliable way to save money. The more extended the container remains in storage, the higher the rental cost for the chassis. Hence, reducing this situation by extracting your goods promptly can be a cost-effective strategy.

It's worth noting that some shippers may opt to have their own chassis for drayage. Please don't do this! Because it can be excessively costly and might not be worth looking for them. The optimal route is to choose a reliable freight agent like JIKE Logistics, who will take good care of your needs.

Contact us for a Freight Quote from China. 

Does Chassis Split Delay Affect Transportation?

Yes, it does. If there is a high demand for equipment and a shortage of trailers, it can lead to an extended chassis split time. This may result in loaded containers entering the port after the deadline, ultimately causing shipping delays.

Moreover, if the chassis location is far from the container point, truck drivers will spend more time retrieving the chassis. This implies that chassis split not only impacts delivery times but may also increase your transportation costs, such as demurrage and detention fees.

For those with limited funds and resources, to avoid the costly consequences of delays, it is recommended that you choose a professional 3PL or logistics partner. Like JIKE logistics, their experts can assist you in negotiating for better prices more easily.

Contact us for a Freight Quote from China. 

Book Transportation Services with JIKE Logistics

what is a chasis split

JIKE Logistics: Your Professional Chinese Freight Forwarder

Click to learn more about JIKE

Chassis splitting can be a costly and irritating event if not handled properly during transportation. Moreover, it can lead to disruptions in the supply chain, causing bottlenecks and congestion at ports and terminals.

Here,  JIKE Logistics is ready to provide you with top-notch transportation solutions. As for shipments shipping from China to your country, our professional transport team will move your goods out of the port without incurring unnecessary chassis split fees. Additionally, we can assist you in establishing an efficient supply chain, including services like intermodal transportation and door-to-door delivery.

Your satisfaction is our top priority. We tailor our services to meet your specific requirements, providing transparent communication and tracking so that you are always informed about the status of your shipments.


Do I still need to pay fees if I cancel a chassis reservation?
No, you don't have to pay a fee if your cargo hasn't reached its destination,because your container chassis transportation has not happened yet. Generally, the chassis split fee is calculated from container pick-up until the chassis is returned.
What is the maximum weight allowed for a container chassis?

As per basic regulations in U.S. highway transportation, the maximum gross weight (truck, chassis, and container combined) cannot exceed 80,000 pounds or 36,287 kilograms. While certain states may permit higher weight limits, it is advised for your cargo to adhere to the aforementioned maximum weight to avoid violations, such as axle weight regulations.

For most regions in the U.S., using a tri-axle chassis, the safely and legally allowable maximum cargo weight is:

In a 20-foot container – 44,000 pounds (19,958 kilograms)

In a 40-foot container – 44,500 pounds (20,185 kilograms)

Can I Request a Split Pick-up and a Split Return for a Single Shipment at the Same Time?
Yes, a single shipment may require both split pick-up and return. But you have to know that this will incur two chassis fees.
What is the 'Free Chassis' Agreement in Chassis Split?

The 'free chassis' agreement implies that you can pick up your cargo for free from the yard or port within the specified time. This is typically offered within 48 hours of receiving notification that your shipment has arrived. Any delays once the free chassis period has expired will be charged.

Knowing that the timeframe can vary, emphasizing the importance of maintaining clear communication with a trusted freight forwarder is crucial. Keeping abreast of updates ensures you are well informed about the terms and conditions of the 'free chassis' agreement.

View all articles
Container Devanning Guide – Definitions, Process and Costs
Container Devanning Guide – Definitions, Process and Costs

What is the definition and process of container devanning in the shipping industry? Learn how to optimize your logistics to increase productivity and save costs.

15 December 2023

Ports in Samoa | Sea Freight from China to Samoa
Ports in Samoa | Sea Freight from China to Samoa

Get an in-depth look at the ports in Samoa and sea freight between China and Samoa. We will guide you on freight from China to ports in Samoa.

07 December 2023

Top Freight Forwarders In Dubai : Your Ultimate guide
Top Freight Forwarders In Dubai : Your Ultimate guide

Are you looking for freight forwarders in Dubai? This guide will help you find top ten freight forwarders in Dubai!.

19 October 2023

Consult Our Experts