Letter: The UIIA and Street Turn Fees

Several ocean carriers recently began charging new fees to motor carriers for engaging in “street turn” activities. Unfortunately, trade press reports on the subject reflect some misunderstandings about the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement, or UIIA, and the role of the Intermodal Association of North America. I am writing to clear up this confusion for the benefit of the intermodal industry.

To begin with, the UIIA is the only standard industry contract that governs the interchange of equipment between intermodal trucking companies and equipment providers such as ocean carriers, railroads and leasing companies. The UIIA has more than 7,800 motor carrier and 54 equipment provider signatories and is used for about 95% of all North American intermodal equipment interchanges.

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The Intermodal Interchange Executive Committee, or IIEC, is a 10-member group of industry representatives that oversees and governs the administration of the UIIA. The IIEC is made up of UIIA participants from the motor carrier, ocean, rail and equipment leasing sectors. While IANA collects and disseminates information that is required under the UIIA (such as motor carrier profile and insurance information), the IIEC — rather than IANA at large — has ultimate decision-making authority when it comes to the UIIA.

Notably, to comply with antitrust law, the UIIA cannot include or dictate economic and commercial terms that are specific to each equipment provider. Such terms are handled through individual addenda to the UIIA. This has been the case for more than 20 years. As a result, the ocean carriers that initiated the street turn fees did so by modifying their respective addenda.

The administrative procedures of the UIIA establish the processes required to modify equipment providers’ addenda. Specifically, any modifications to a specific addendum are reviewed by IIEC modal committee members to ensure that the proposed changes do not conflict with language in the body of the UIIA. The addenda that adopted street turn fees underwent this review.

Finally, more than two years ago, IANA recognized the substantial benefits that street turns and street interchanges provide to the intermodal supply chain. To facilitate and promote these activities, IANA developed a first-of-its-kind service known as the Street Interchange Application, or SIA. This application, which provides a standardized and efficient solution to existing street interchange practices, is available to all UIIA participants at no charge. See https://uiia.org/about-information-services/street-interchange-application. All IANA participants are encouraged to take advantage of this free offering.

I hope this letter more clearly defines the roles of the UIIA and IANA in providing forums that consider all viewpoints and develop consensus solutions to common industry challenges and business processes.

Joni Casey

President and CEO

Intermodal Association of North America