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Chairman Lidinsky Applauds New USDA Container Availability Report and Urges Full Shipper Participation

July 17, 2012

NR 12-10

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

The first United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report (OSCAR) was released last week. The report provides shippers, particularly those in the agriculture sector, with the participating carriers’ estimates of equipment availability for the current week, and projected weekly container availability for the subsequent two weeks. "I congratulate the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services as well as the 10 ocean carrier members of the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) for implementing the Container Availability program last week, and I urge full participation by all U.S. shippers" Chairman Lidinsky stated.

The origins of this effort was the result of a dialogue during a Congressional hearing between the then House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Chairman Elijah Cummings (D – MD) and Chairman Lidinsky in 2010. "FMC staff worked closely with USDA and WTSA to overcome initial hesitations with implementing the new reporting service and is a perfect example of government and the private sector uniting to implement President Obama’s goal of doubling exports. This agency will continue to work with all parties to ensure its success," said Chairman Lidinsky.

The new report contains information about five types of ocean shipping containers at 18 different U.S. intermodal locations. The data aims to offer a more transparent view of container flows, increase efficiency, and provide additional information to help U.S. exporters locate equipment to move their products, regardless of the type of cargo. For more information about the Report visit the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service website or contact April Taylor at 202-295-7374.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the independent 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.