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FMC Briefed on Enforcement and Audit Activities, and Upcoming NSAC Meeting

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Enforcement matters, information learned to date from audits of carrier detention and demurrage practices, and the role of the National Shipper Advisory Committee were matters addressed during a meeting of the Federal Maritime Commission held today.

The meeting was held virtually in both open and closed sessions.

The Commission was briefed in closed session by the Director of the Bureau of Enforcement, Ben Trogdon, about ongoing enforcement matters related to ocean carrier behavior in the marketplace, including the separate inquiries into the appropriate use of merchant clauses and congestion surcharges.

Also in closed session, Managing Director Lucille Marvin updated the Commission on information the Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) Audit Team has gathered to date from its work. The VOCC Audit Program was established in July at the direction of Chairman Daniel B. Maffei to assess carrier compliance with the Commission’s interpretive rule on detention and demurrage. The audit program began with an examination of the top nine ocean carriers by market share that call the United States. In addition to generating additional information beneficial to the regular monitoring of the marketplace for ocean cargo services, the VOCC Audit Team will identify any best practices it believes should become industry standards.

In the open session, Commissioners were briefed on the upcoming inaugural meeting of the National Shipper Advisory Committee. Commissioners outlined the items they hope the Committee will consider and advise on including export challenges, information sharing practices, surcharges and fees, and service contract requirements.

The first meeting of the National Shipper Advisory Committee will be held in virtual session on October 27, 2021, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The meeting will be open to the public to observe via video conference, but registration will be required. Requests for the meeting link should be sent to nsac@fmc.gov, and the subject line should include “REGISTER FOR NSAC MEETING.”

During the session, Committee members will elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman, address other initial administrative matters, hear from Commissioners as to where the expertise of the Committee will be beneficial, and discuss issues related to ongoing supply chain congestion issues.