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Commission Takes Action on Several Regulatory Matters

June 24, 2015

NR 15-09

Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)

The Commission voted at its meeting today to take several actions including release of a staff report on U.S. port congestion and related international supply chain issues, and ordering submission of certain data and information from members of the Pacific Ports Operational Improvement Agreement.

Release of 2nd Staff Report on U.S. Port Congestion: The Commission voted to release a staff report entitled: "U.S. Port Congestion & Related International Supply Chain Issues: Causes, Consequences & Challenges." A synopsis of stakeholder viewpoints expressed across the forums held by the Commission at major gateway ports in the Fall of 2014, the report highlights six major themes discussed – investment and planning; chassis availability and related issues; vessel and terminal operations; port drayage and truck turn-time; extended gate hours, PierPASS and congestion pricing; and collaboration and communication. The report will be posted on the Commission’s website in the near future.

Pacific Port Operational Improvement Agreement, FMC No. 201227: Separately in its closed session, the Commission directed staff to prepare for consideration and approval, an order to require the ocean carrier members of the PPOIA agreement to submit certain data and information relevant to the Commission’s oversight responsibilities and further assessment of the competitive impact of the agreement.

New rules proposed: The Commission also voted to issue two new rulemakings. It voted to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking requesting public comment to implement statutory amendments made by the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 that permits attorney fees to be awarded to the prevailing party in any Shipping Act complaint proceeding, establishes term limits for future FMC Commissioners, limits the amount of time a future Commissioner can serve beyond the end of their term, and establishes conflict-of-interest restrictions for current and future Commissioners. The Commission also voted to issue a Direct Final Rule that would amend and modernize its regulations on access to Commission information and records and it regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act including a modification to the criterial for granting expedited processing of requests.

Petition No. P1-14, United Arab Shipping Company:  Finally, the Commission voted to grant United Arab Shipping Company’s petition for an exemption from the requirements of 46 U.S.C. § 40703 so that it may lawfully reduce its tariff rates, charges, classifications, rules or regulations effective upon publication.

Chairman Cordero commented: "The Commission has moved forward with phase II of our study on congestion. By all accounts, congestion is a central question today and will be tomorrow should we as a nation not address the vital needs and concerns of our port gateways and supply chain stakeholders. The Commission’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system and protect the American shipping public from unlawful, unfair or deceptive practices. Accordingly, release of the staff report on U.S. port congestion facilitates solutions to congestion-related problems, the FMC will continue its mandate to monitor and address potential violations of the Shipping Act."

Updated: 7/14/2015: Section 15 Order Regarding the Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement and Marine Terminal Services and Chassis-Related Issues at United States Pacific Coast Ports – Served July 10, 2015.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.