February 1, 2010
Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)
Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., has announced a reorganization of the Federal Maritime Commission that became effective January 31, 2010. The new organization establishes a Managing Director to ensure that the Commission's major offices are cohesively directed toward achieving fair and efficient ocean transportation that helps improve the nation's economy. The reorganization also gives heightened priority to the role of the Commission's Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS), which assists exporters and other consumers and works with the public and ocean transportation industry to mediate disputes without costly lawsuits.
"With this new organization, we are seeking a reinvigorated Commission that is more nimble and responsive to the millions of Americans who work in or rely on international trade and transportation," said Chairman Lidinsky. "We consulted closely with Congress and FMC staff to take advantage of what has worked during the Commission's forty-nine year history, while modernizing to keep pace with an ocean transportation industry that continues to grow in size and importance."
Under the reorganization, the Commission restores the position of Managing Director, returning to a structure familiar to the regulated maritime industry that worked effectively for much of the Commission's nearly 50 year existence. The Managing Director will serve as the Commission's senior executive responsible for the management and coordination of the Commission's operating bureaus, exercising administrative direction or guidance over all units of the Commission. In addition to the major operating Bureaus (Certification and Licensing, Enforcement, and Trade Analysis), the Managing Director oversees the Commission's Area Representatives and all Administrative Offices.
The Commission also is establishing CADRS as an independent office reporting directly to the Chairman. With this change, the Commission places greater emphasis on its role in assisting consumers, resolving disputes that impede the efficiency of ocean transportation, and assisting parties in avoiding lengthy and costly litigation. The Director of CADRS will serve as the Commission's Ombudsman and, with a direct line to the Chairman, will be ideally situated to handle inquiries and complaints about industry issues and Commission services. CADRS also provides the public and ocean transportation industry a variety of impartial, speedy, and confidential alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, such as mediation and arbitration. Moreover, the Commission will expeditiously decide reparations claims of $50,000 or less for alleged violations of the Shipping Act of 1984.
Chairman Lidinsky also announced that the Commission will begin an internal assessment of its strategic priorities and allocation of resources to maximize the positive impact of Commission programs in meeting the needs of the shipping industry and consumers. "This is particularly important in today's challenging economic environment, which has so severely impacted the global marketplace, and, consequently, the worldwide shipping industry," said Chairman Lidinsky. "The shipping industry plays a critical role in the President's recently announced initiative to double exports. Also, we are continually looking for ways to best serve ports, carriers, and shippers as they adapt to new environmental and climate issues."
The Chairman also announced the following key appointments (contact information included):
Managing Director: Ronald D. Murphy (202-523-5800)
Deputy Managing Director: Florence A. Carr (202-523-5800)
Director, Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services: Vern W. Hill (202-523-5807)
Secretary: Karen V. Gregory (202-523-5725)
Director, Bureau of Certification and Licensing: Sandra L. Kusumoto (202-523-5787)
Director, Bureau of Enforcement: Peter J. King (202-523-5783)
Director, Bureau of Trade Analysis: Austin L. Schmitt (202-523-5796)
Deputy General Counsel: Rebecca A. Fenneman (202-523-5740)
Chairman Lidinsky thanked his fellow Commissioners for their support of the Commission's realignment, stating: "Their insight and counsel have been invaluable to the development and implementation of this reorganization."
FMC's online contact listings will be updated to reflect current locations and phone numbers. The revised Organization Chart has also been posted on FMC's website.