Home > FTDO > Statement By Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel on the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association’s Inaugural Supply Chain & Logistic Summit

Statement By Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel on the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association’s Inaugural Supply Chain & Logistic Summit

Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel travelled to Puerto Rico in February 2024 to provide the keynote speech to the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association at their inaugural Supply Chain and Logistics Summit.

In his remarks, Commissioner Bentzel discussed how conditions in the Red Sea and the Panama Canal are impacting shipping and he shared what is necessary to mitigate future supply chain disruptions.

“Supply chain disruptions during the COVID pandemic taught us about the consequences of sourcing production in factories located on the other side of the world. Companies are justifiably reassessing where they will have goods and inputs manufactured and not surprisingly, many are exploring what options exist in the Americas,” said Commissioner Bentzel.

Commissioner Bentzel cautioned there is no single solution that will mitigate future supply chain disruptions, but establishing redundancies and contingencies will help protect companies and economies from future shocks while simultaneously creating the conditions for new opportunities.

“I commend the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association for highlighting the importance of supply chain and logistics to the island’s prosperity. Puerto Rico is ideally located to serve as a manufacturing, transportation, and logistics center. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States enjoy strong bonds that create a close partnership. Excellent maritime links already exist between Puerto Rico and the Mainland which were maintained without disruption during the pandemic and Puerto Rico is already within the purview of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s jurisdiction. These are all benefits to be considered as companies consider bringing manufacturing operations back from Asia and closer to the U.S. market,” said Commissioner Bentzel.

To support near shoring alternatives in Puerto Rico Commissioner Bentzel commented “why not pursue re-instatement of Section 936 of the federal tax code, to allow subsidiaries of U.S. firms operating in Puerto Rico to receive incentives to use Puerto Rico for manufacturing and near-sourcing? Puerto Rico is within the U.S. Customs territory and movement is simplified by entry into Puerto Rico as an international point and free otherwise to enter the commerce of the U.S.”

While in Puerto Rico, Commissioner Bentzel also met with the Puerto Rico Shipping Association and visited San Juan-Luis Ayala Colon Terminal and the Isla Grande Terminal.

“I want to thank everyone I met with for the courtesies they extended and for their interest in imparting a greater understanding of the value and importance of maritime shipping to the economy of Puerto Rico,” said Commissioner Bentzel.

Carl W. Bentzel 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.