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Chairman Lidinsky Calls for Reasoned, Science-Based Response to the Nuclear Incident in Fukushima, Japan

March 30, 2011

NR 11-05

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

Speaking to the Washington Freight Transportation Policy Forum hosted by the National Industrial Transportation League, Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. called for care, caution, and rational analysis when members of the international shipping community are responding to the crisis at the nuclear facility in Fukushima, Japan.

"It is imperative that all parts of the international shipping community react with care, based on accurate information and rational analysis," said Chairman Lidinsky. "Overreactions based on fear and misinformation can needlessly multiply the harm from this tragedy, both for Japan in its time of need and for each of its trading partners."

Chairman Lidinsky added: "If you are a foreign government deciding on policies for accepting ships from Japan at your ports, a dockworker deciding whether to unload the ship, a shipper deciding whether to go forward with an import or export, an intermediary arranging transportation, or a carrier making service decisions, you have a responsibility to consider safety. But you also have a responsibility to gather the facts, heed the experts, and make sound decisions that don’t needlessly harm the supply chain that is so vital to all of our livelihoods."

Chairman Lidinsky also announced the availability of a webpage dedicated to the situation at the Fukushima plant with links to advisories and information that would be of interest to the shipping community. These include U.S. Coast Guard safety advisories, the status of Japan’s major container ports at Tokyo and Yokohama, and other useful information.

During the policy forum, Chairman Lidinsky also said that the Commission planned to follow up on its recent Fact Finding into Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability Issues with a project to enhance service contracting practices for small and medium sized shippers. Chairman Lidinsky encouraged those in attendance to include in their new service contracts a clause providing that the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) would assist in resolving their disputes.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) 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.