FMC Commissioners Lidinsky and Doyle Meet with the Baltimore Port Alliance
Federal Maritime Commissioners Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. and William P. Doyle met with members of the Baltimore Port Alliance on February 20, 2015, where they briefed the Alliance on the work of the Federal Maritime Commission. The meeting was also attended by former FMC Chairman Helen D. Bentley.
The Baltimore Port Alliance is a non-profit group of maritime business representatives that promotes the needs and interests of businesses and individuals operating in maritime commerce. The Alliance lists its efforts as “maintaining and improving maritime commerce, monitoring legislation that affects the safety and health of the Port and its navigational channels in the Chesapeake Bay, adhering to Federal and State maritime and seaport security policies, and protecting industrial and commercially zoned property surrounding the Port of Baltimore waterfront community.” The Commissioners attended the meeting at the request of the Alliance as a follow up to the Port Congestion Forum held last October at the headquarters of the Maryland Port Administration in Baltimore.
Commissioner Lidinsky gave a brief presentation on the history of the Federal Maritime Commission, and an overview of the Commission’s primary tasks of monitoring and regulating the nation’s foreign waterborne commerce, as well as, protecting those who engage in the U.S.’s foreign commerce from restrictive rules and regulations of foreign government, and from foreign-flagged carriers that may have an adverse effect on shipping in the U.S. trade. The Commissioners reiterated that the congestion at U.S. ports was the FMC’s priority for 2015, and highlighted actions the Commission has already taken to address congestion including the FMC’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) reviewing the current implementation of demurrage charges, and questioning the validity of carrier’s port congestion surcharges.
Following the briefing given by both Commissioners, there was a question and answer session that highlighted concerns previously heard at the Commission’s port congestion forums held last fall. Attendees at the meeting were given an opportunity to ask questions, comment, and express their concerns. The PMA-ILWU labor dispute and its effects on congestion at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach were also discussed.