Blackburn Introduces Legislation To Improve Tennessee Supply Chains

November 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation along with Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to improve Tennessee supply chains by utilizing public-private partnerships. The Improving Memphis’ Supply Chain Act will instruct the Department of Transportation to streamline the way products move throughout the mid-south in a more efficient and effective manner.


“Our nation is in the midst of a supply chain crisis,” said Senator Blackburn. “Backlogs at local ports have resulted in delays for Tennessee truck drivers and train conductors transporting goods to store shelves. My Improving Chassis Capacity for Memphis’ Supply Chain Act is a state-specific solution that will make supply chains more efficient for Tennesseans.”


“There is a shortage of intermodal equipment, which is a key component in the transportation supply chain,” said Senator Wicker. “The rail ramps around Memphis see an extensive exchange of containers from rail to truck, and the lack of available chassis has limited freight capacity, harming both importers and exporters. I am glad to join Senator Blackburn in introducing this bill along with the FREIGHT Act so we can bring our shipping operations up to speed and alleviate the ongoing freight congestion.”


Representative David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) introduced a version of this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.


“The Memphis region, known as America’s Distribution Center, plays a critical role in the movement of freight and goods across the country and globe. Unfortunately, the United States is currently experiencing serious supply chain disruptions. One of the primary causes of this crisis is due to the lack of chassis needed to move containers from ports and rail facilities. This not only slows the flow of freight, but it also increases the cost of products for shippers and consumers in Tennessee and across our nation,” said Representative David Kustoff. “My bill will encourage collaboration between logistics stakeholders to help modernize chassis provisioning and increase freight capacity. More importantly, it will allow the private sector to step into this process and help enhance the movement of freight in the Memphis region. I thank Senator Blackburn for joining me in introducing this much needed legislation, and I look forward to its quick passage.”


Senator Blackburn’s legislation is supported by the Memphis & Shelby County Port Commission, American Cotton Shippers Association, Mallory Alexander International Logistics, IMC Companies, and International Paper.


“The Port of Memphis strongly supports the creation of a “gray pool” chassis demonstration project in the City of Memphis. Memphis is a critical container hub for 5 class 1 railroads that deliver freight from the west and east coasts for delivery to middle America. The lack of chassis availability in Memphis, has been and continues to be a serious negative impact to the supply chain of the United States,” said Randy Richardson, Executive Director of the Memphis & Shelby County Port Commission.


“Senator Blackburn’s leadership to deliver private sector led solutions to enhance chassis provisioning and freight fluidity, starting in Memphis, is exemplary.  The American Cotton Shippers Association applauds Senator Blackburn and her team for their diligent work to make local supply chain stakeholder’s recommendations actionable.  Enhancing chassis interoperability is a common sense approach to addressing current supply chain challenges and will expedite the movement of cotton from the interior to points of export and domestic consumption, increasing the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture.  We support this legislation and broader efforts to create open market choice in intermodal chassis provisioning,” said Buddy Allen, President and CEO of the American Cotton Shippers Association.


"Serving as America’s Distribution Center, Memphis is an essential marketplace for intermodal import and export shipping.  The creation of an interoperable gray chassis pool in the Greater Memphis Marketplace will both strengthen our market, covering Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and enhance the movement of freight throughout the United States.  This legislation is necessary to stimulate modernization of chassis provisioning starting in this critical marketplace," said Neely Mallory III, Chairman and CEO of Mallory Alexander International Logistics.


"On behalf of our drivers, our shippers and our entire team, IMC Companies applauds Senator Blackburn’s legislation offering an opportunity for positive change in chassis provisioning in Memphis," said Donna Lemm, CCO of IMC Companies.




  • In 2018, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) studied the Memphis supply chain and found that a gray chassis pool, which will be established in Senator Blackburn’s legislation, would increase the efficiency of transporting shipping containers.
  • A gray chassis pool is a single area to store chassis allowing shippers to pick up the chassis quickly without burdensome hurdles.