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FMC Chairman Seeks Direct Engagement on Container Weight Issue

Posted
April 19, 2016

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero today made the following statement regarding the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) amendments implementation:

“I applaud Chairman Hunter and Ranking Member Garamendi for including SOLAS VGM amendments implementation as a topic of yesterday’s hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation.

“Although the Federal Maritime Commission does not have a role in promulgating and implementing the SOLAS VGM amendment, it has been apparent from the moment this manifested itself as a policy issue that the only path to resolving disagreement between shippers and carriers is for those parties to negotiate an outcome that would be mutually agreeable.

“Accordingly, the FMC provided a forum on February 18th of this year for that process to begin when it hosted a meeting at our headquarters on behalf of the United States Coast Guard. We were pleased to welcome concerned individuals from all sides of this debate and provide them with the opportunity to voice their concerns and resolve differences in a neutral setting.

“Though the July 1st deadline is fast approaching, I remain optimistic that the Coast Guard, cargo owners, and transportation providers can find a solution that addresses the concerns of all parties. I encourage people to redouble their efforts toward achieving an outcome that does not lead to export shipments becoming distressed.

“The Coast Guard is the lead and competent authority in the matter of VGM implementation and enforcement; as such, we properly defer to them on this issue. However, as the Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, I want to see if there is a way to enable discussions between some of the key parties with opposing views regarding what will happen on July 1st with an eye toward achieving a consensus.

“In the coming days and weeks, I will reach out to individuals with the authority to make decisions to determine if we can bridge differences on SOLAS VGM amendment implementation.”