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Chairman Michael Khouri Comments on Fact Finding 29

The global COVID-19 pandemic is having effects throughout our ocean supply chain. I requested Commissioner Rebecca Dye to, once again, stand up the Innovation Teams that were assembled within Fact Finding 28 to identify collaborative solutions to uncertainties and problems in this international supply chain. I am pleased that the full Commission acted promptly today in approving the Fact Finding 29 Order.

As reflected in the Commission’s Order, given the FMC’s mandate to ensure an efficient and economic transportation system for ocean commerce, we have a responsibility to take such actions as we have within our agency’s jurisdiction to respond to these current challenges that are impacting the global supply chain. Stakeholders including major beneficial cargo owners, ports and marine terminal operators, and ocean carriers have called on the Commission to employ its authority to facilitate discussions among all stakeholders to proactively address these challenges in a collaborative manner.

Commissioner Dye used this FMC authority to great effect in the recent Fact Finding 28, and the work of her Innovation Teams led to Commission proposals to address surrounding detention and demurrage charges. Commissioner Dye is respected by the stakeholder community. Her relationships with industry leaders will allow her to quickly reassemble Innovation Teams to assess, gauge, anticipate, and respond to the disruptions in the global ocean supply chain.

While we are fortunate to have the recent experience of Fact Finding 28 and the new “call to duty” of the Innovation Teams to now focus on this current crisis, the need for a prompt response to the types of events we are facing today clearly points to the advisability of a standing “Advisory Board” of stakeholders to work with the Commission on a continuing basis. An Advisory Board would be positioned and ready to respond quickly to developing contingencies. Senator Roger Wicker, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has suggested just such Advisory Board for the FMC. I wholeheartedly support that proposal.

Chairman Michael A. Khouri is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.