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The Federal Maritime Commission has been presented with a set of interim recommendations from its fact finding investigation into challenges facing the ocean transportation supply chain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open session held Tuesday, Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye provided the Commission with eight Interim Recommendations meant to address current conditions contributing to congestion and other inefficiencies in the ocean freight system.
The Federal Maritime Commission ordered Fact Finding No. 29 back in March 2020 to investigate congestion and bottlenecks at ports and other points in the supply chain that posed a serious risk to the U.S. economy. As the Fact Finding Officer, Commissioner Dye was authorized to convene Supply Chain Innovation Teams and engage key stakeholders from all facets of the freight sector in order to identify commercial solutions to some of the worst supply chain problems facing American exporters, importers, and truckers. The recommendations include actions for the FMC to take to address many of the most common problems identified through her work.
The recommendations are aimed at minimizing barriers to private party enforcement of the U.S. Shipping Act, clarifying Commission and industry processes, encouraging shippers, truckers, and other stakeholders to assist Commission enforcement efforts, and bolstering the ability of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services to facilitate fair and fast dispute resolution.
Commissioner Dye also reported that she plans to hold meetings of Supply Chain Innovation Teams in Memphis and the Port of Los Angeles to address supply chain disruptions and increase supply chain visibility.
“The overwhelming effects of pandemic cargo surges, fueled by online purchases, magnified the problems in our freight delivery system,” Commissioner Dye said in her remarks to the FMC.
Commissioner Dye summarized her initial recommendations as:
Separately, Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel provided a summary of his examination of container and chassis manufacturing and the availability of intermodal equipment to support US international containerized trade. The Commissioner noted that congestion and increased demand for equipment has led to shortages of chassis and containers in the United States and other nations as well. This demand has led to increased prices for new intermodal equipment.
Commissioner Bentzel plans on completing his work by September.
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