Home > FTDO > Statement by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel On The Release of the Second Request for Information for the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative

Statement by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel On The Release of the Second Request for Information for the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative

On April 16, 2024, my second Request for Information (RFI) for the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) was published in the Federal Register. This is another important step in my effort to develop a transparent information sharing process that will improve the reliability and predictability of the shipment of international containerized cargo that our nation is so heavily dependent on.

It has always been my intention to release at least two RFIs to allow for much greater public input on how shipping information should be shared to improve operational efficiency.

The first RFI focused more on general concerns regarding existing levels of data communication between transportation and service providers and shippers or other users of information.

The questions contained in the just released second RFI, focus more on recommendations contained in the MTDI Report addressing transparency, data accuracy and cargo availability.

All comments received in response to both RFIs will be reviewed and considered as I evaluate what information and recommendations will be considered in the final report I will issue later this year.

It is possible that before I am prepared to issue a final report, there will be the need to issue a third RFI. Issues raised by stakeholders and Congress related to cybersecurity, smart containers and other auxiliary issues all overlap with the scope of the MTDI and should be addressed in a final report.

Finally, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) continues to finalize the “to do list” of items mandated by the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA – 2022). It is instructive to consider how all these changes, rulemakings and regulations fit together with potential standards advocated in the MTDI report.

On February 23, 2024, the FMC released its Final Rule on Demurrage and Detention Billing Practices which is scheduled to go into effect May 28, 2024. This final rule is an important step in providing certainty in how cargo moves while enforcing an economic incentive through demurrage and detention to keep cargo moving. It also ensures that ocean carriers and marine terminal operators do not abuse the invoicing process to the harm of the shipping public.

A well thought out and implemented information sharing process, such as the MTDI, will mitigate a lot of the conflict that leads to demurrage and detention charges. Better communication in the scheduling of cargo operations and during the movement cargo, will ultimately provide all concerned parties better efficiencies and reduced demurrage and detention charges. In fact, it will also harmonize requirements standardizing information related to demurrage and detention and strengthen the efficacy of the Final Rule. This represents a “hand and glove” approach opportunity to help provide a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.

I strongly encourage transportation providers and the public to review the twenty-five questions released today and provide input. The MTDI has been a process designed to be transparent and one that benefits from shared information. A robust volume of responses to this RFI will help us continue to meet those goals.

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.