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Fact Finding Officer to Hold Hearings on Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability

April 1, 2010

NR 10-10

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

Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye, as Fact Finding Officer, will conduct hearings concerning vessel capacity and equipment availability in the United States export and import liner trades. In order to reach out and provide an opportunity for face-to-face discussion for as many U.S. exporters and importers, carriers, ports, and other industry participants as possible, the Fact Finding Officer will hold hearings in locations around the country. Commissioner Dye urges anyone wishing to participate in these hearings or offer information relevant to the development of the record in this proceeding to contact her office at (202) 523-5715, or email factfinding@fm​c.gov.

The first scheduled hearings in this proceeding will be held on April 6 -7, 2010 in San Francisco, California and April 8, 2010 in Portland, Oregon. These hearings will be conducted in closed, non-public sessions as authorized by the Commission's Fact Finding Order. Future hearing locations and schedules will be developed primarily based on the location of persons who have expressed interest in participating and offering their testimony or documents. The Fact Finding Officer's initial report is due June 15, 2010, therefore it is important that interested parties contact the Fact Finding Officer as soon as possible.

In addition to having an opportunity to participate in hearings, parties interested in contributing to the record in this proceeding may also do so by phone, by email, or by scheduling a meeting with the Fact Finding Officer at the Commission's Washington, DC headquarters. Information voluntarily submitted in this proceeding will be treated as confidential to the fullest extent permitted by law.

On March 17, 2010, the Federal Maritime Commission initiated Fact Finding Investigation No. 26, Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability in the Unites States Export and Import Liner Trades, to examine current conditions in the U.S. ocean-borne common carrier trades, to gather facts related to vessel capacity and shipping equipment availability for U.S. exports and imports, and to provide the basis for any subsequent action by the Commission. The Commission's Fact Finding Order noted that 2009 was one of the worst years in the fifty-year history of international containerized shipping, during which U.S. export and import volumes and carrier revenues fell precipitously. Recent gains, however, have been accompanied by a number of reports of U.S. exporters and importers having difficulty obtaining liner service and problems with the distribution and availability of shipping containers. The Commission will use the information obtained in this Fact Finding Investigation and recommendations of the Fact Finding Officer to determine its policies with respect to these vessel and equipment capacity-related issues.