The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom

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Haiti Crisis: FMC Responds with Regulatory Relief

January 19, 2010

NR 10-03

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

Haiti Relief Contacts: Vern Hill, (202) 523-5783;
        for French language speakers, Theresa Dike, (202) 523-5807

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) today announced that it is working with appropriate U.S. Government agencies and the maritime industry to spur relief and rebuilding efforts for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of last week's devastating earthquake.

The Commission has pledged to assist the regulated industry both to speed immediate relief and accomplish longer-term rebuilding efforts in Haiti. It will expedite the review of agreements among vessel operators and/or marine terminal operators to provide services to Haiti, as well as give priority to other industry requests that would hasten relief efforts. Through this process, the Commission hopes to encourage new water services to Haiti from many U.S. ports as soon as facilities there are suitable.

The Commission issued an advisory to vessel-operating common carriers, cruise operators, non-vessel operating common carriers, freight forwarders and marine terminal operators highlighting Commission regulations that permit them to waive or reduce freight forwarding fees, tariff rates and charges for charitable shipments to Haiti.

Echoing the President's message of January 12, 2010, the Commission encourages Americans to assist in relief efforts, but also reminds the shipping public that it should only rely on FMC-licensed and bonded ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) and tariffed ocean common carriers to transport cargo that is to be shipped overseas.

FMC Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. noted, "I am gratified by the outpouring of relief efforts by the American people and by the shipping industry to help the people of Haiti in this crisis. The Federal Maritime Commission is committed to taking whatever steps we can under our jurisdiction to smooth the regulatory process and expedite shipment of cargo to relieve current suffering and help rebuild Haiti." The Chairman named Director Vern W. Hill as primary point of contact for matters concerning Haitian shipments and relief. The FMC Area Representatives are also available as points of contact.