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Chairman Blust Announces Intention to Leave FMC

June 13, 2006

NR 06-03

CONTACT: Lucille L. Marvin, Counsel to the Chairman, (202) 523-5911

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Steven R. Blust announced today that he intends to leave the agency after the completion of his current term, once his replacement nominee has been confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Blust has been serving as Chairman since joining the agency in August 2002. His term officially ends on June 30, 2006. Once he leaves the Commission, he plans to continue his career in the area of maritime trade.

"It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to serve the President, the Commission and its staff of dedicated civil servants, as well as our country and industry for nearly four years," Mr. Blust said. "I believe that we at the FMC have helped contribute to the success of the international maritime industry by fostering fairness and efficiency in the U.S. maritime commerce."

Under Mr. Blust's leadership, non-vessel-operating-common-carrier service arrangements, or "NSAs," were instituted. NSAs permit NVOCCs to offer services through negotiated and confidential service arrangements with shippers as an alternative to providing service under tariff rates and terms. Mr. Blust also provided valuable support in securing the 2004 bilateral Maritime Agreement between the U.S. and China, which helped remove anti-competitive barriers to key markets and industry segments. Mr. Blust realigned the FMC not only to maximize its effectiveness in carrying out the agency's statutory duties, but also to add value to Commission services to the shipping public. Mr. Blust instituted a series of seminars, "Navigating the Regulations," to allow the Commission to reach out to the industry with information and education, as well as to serve as a forum for regulatory and commercial concerns. He also started a series of informal briefings by industry stakeholders to help both the Commission staff and the industry gain greater awareness and understanding of the most current priorities and challenges facing the maritime industry. Finally, Mr. Blust reorganized the Commission's consumer protection component and increased its staff and outreach activities. This recently led to the FMC securing a preliminary injunction against international household goods movers believed to be in violation of the Shipping Act.

"It has been an honor to serve on the Commission with Chairman Blust for the last three years," said Commissioner Rebecca Dye . "His personal kindness and professionalism have made my time as a Commissioner more productive and rewarding. Chairman Blust has implemented a number of much needed reforms in the Commission's regulations. These important reforms have increased competition in international ocean transportation while reducing the Commission's regulatory burden on the important players in this vital industry."

The Federal Maritime Commission is responsible for the regulation of ocean-borne transportation in the foreign commerce of the U.S. The FMC is working to streamline the regulatory process as it goes about fulfilling its core mission, which is to administer regulations and policies that foster a fair, efficient and secure maritime transportation system.

Press Contact: Bryant L. VanBrakle (202) 523-5725; e-mail: secretary@fmc.gov