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Stoughton Trailers announced it will build intermodal chassis at a new facility set to open this year in Waco, Texas.
The plant will expand the manufacturer’s capacity to build intermodal chassis, an emerging market for the Stoughton, Wis.-based company and one at the center of recent federal action targeting Chinese manufacturers’ business practices for selling chassis in the United States.
“The new Waco facility and Stoughton production line will help fulfill our customer production commitments for 2022 and beyond,” Stoughton CEO Bob Wahlin said in a Jan. 3 statement. “By the end of 2022, the company will have invested $25 million expanding our chassis production capacity. These investments would not have been possible without the remedial relief provided by the anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on chassis from China.”
In July 2021, the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission determined the U.S. chassis industry was being “materially injured by reason of imports of chassis from China that are sold in the United States at less than fair value.”
Commerce also directed the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to assess anti-dumping duties on the Chinese chassis manufacturers to make them cost-competitive with American-made chassis.
Stoughton in December began ramping up chassis output at its hometown factory, an expansion that’s expected to add up to 150 new jobs to the plant. The company also has production facilities in Evansville, and Broadhead, Wis. The Evansville plant also plays a role in chassis production.
Stoughton is now building the Waco facility and expects it to be operational in the second quarter. The plant will employ up to 125 workers.
In recent weeks, another chassis group announced an expansion of U.S. production. On Dec. 6, the North American Chassis Pool Cooperative announced it had acquired Bridgman, Mich.-based chassis manufacturer Pratt Industries Intermodal Chassis from the Nashville, Tenn.-based private equity firm LFM Capital. NACPC plans to build between 5,000 to 7,000 new 20- and 40-foot maritime chassis per year.
NACPC Chairman Dave Manning told TT he welcomes the Stoughton announcement. “There certainly is a shortage of chassis manufacturing that’s available, and I think demand will remain strong for this year and next year,” Manning said. “The industry needs more chassis, and production capacity is lagging.”
“I think this is great,” added NACPC Treasurer and Triple G Express Trucking President Randy Guillot. “To get more chassis manufacturing [in the U.S.] is a really good thing for the industry, so we are looking forward to this.”
For years, trucking leaders have raised alarm about a chronic shortage of high-quality chassis with LED lights, anti-lock brakes, and steel-belted radial tires.
“I think almost all new chassis are built to the highest specifications, and I believe there is a lot of opportunity for the replacement of older legacy chassis, that tend to be bias-ply tires and are 20 years of age, and that will fuel the demand for new chassis,” Manning said.
Both Manning and Guillot have served a term as chairman of American Trucking Associations and were active in the federation’s government affairs efforts on the federal and state levels.
NACPC was formed in 2012 to work toward supplying the industry with modern chassis at fair market prices. The motor carrier-owned cooperative offers chassis to all qualified companies and operates more than 20,000 chassis across the country.
Stoughton and four other chassis manufacturers, under the Coalition of American Chassis Manufacturers, worked with the law firm of Wiley Rein to prove that subsidized imports of Chinese chassis were injuring the U.S. chassis industry, the company said.
Stoughton said its three factories involved in chassis output when fully operational later this year will have annual production capacity of 20,000 to 25,000 chassis.
Senior Reporter Roger Gilroy contributed to this story.
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