Chairman’s Statement on Earth Day - Federal Maritime Commission
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Chairman’s Statement on Earth Day

April 25, 2016

Today we celebrate Earth Day because we recognize that although our planet is large, it is still the only home we have. We must preserve it, and find ways to move humanity forward while maintaining a balance in the environment that will allow future generations to live healthy and happy lives.

For its part, the maritime industry realized years ago that sustainable development is necessary to the survival of people and businesses— whether it is related to maritime transportation, port development, or infrastructure. Any discussion in the industry now necessarily involves mention of sustainability principles. We know that a cleaner environment means economic growth, job creation, and reduced costs with greater efficiency.

The Federal Maritime Commission’s role in promoting sustainable practices is limited but impactful. A major responsibility of the Commission is to review and oversee competitive agreements. Today’s global competitive environment mandates that our nation’s ports maintain competitive transportation gateways in the interest of moving cargo in efficient and cost effective systems. And cooperative agreements among stakeholders or ports who serve a common region are now paramount in order to improve port-related transportation infrastructure and facilitating cargo movement.

The agreements that we review during our competition analysis often include sustainability elements in furtherance of environmental stewardship. They can, for example, allow ports to discuss and agree on projects and programs that reduce pollution caused by port-related activities, facilitate initiatives to increase terminal productivity, facilitate chassis availability and usage, and improve drayage truck turn times (resulting in the reduction of truck idling).

Beyond that, the Federal Maritime Commission recognizes that in the years to come, international trade will continue to grow and the demands of ocean transportation systems to reduce fuel costs and further improve energy efficiencies will be greater. I am committed to continuing working with industry stakeholders on designing deliberate and responsible steps to cut carbon pollution to slow the effects of climate change, in line with the President’s Climate Action Plan. Further, the FMC plays an important role—hand in hand with the industry—in ensuring that we keep up with sustainability efforts. The key factors needed for any sustainable development initiative to succeed include: (1) continuous commitment from all stakeholders, (2) recognizing and embracing the fact that by their nature, these types of initiatives evolve overtime and are an ongoing work in progress, and (3) the ability to take advantage of evolving technologies. I can assure you that the FMC continues to promote best practices in fostering an efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system.

I wish you a happy, healthy, and thoughtful Earth Day.