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Commission Sets January Dates for Petition P4-16 Hearings

November 16, 2017

Contact: John K. DeCrosta (202) 523-5911

The Federal Maritime Commission today announced January 16 and 17, 2018 as the dates it will hold public hearings to receive testimony from maritime industry witnesses regarding a petition filed by the Coalition for Fair Port Practices (Petition P4-16) that raised issues associated with detention, demurrage, and per diem charges.

Those interested in presenting testimony at the hearings must send their request to the Commission no later than Friday, December 8, 2017. Information included in their correspondence should include the name of the potential witness, the company or employer they will represent, their contact information, and a summary of intended testimony. The Commission may also reach out to other potential witnesses. All witnesses will testify by invitation.

Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri stated, "I look forward to the opportunity to explore with the witnesses the issues raised by the Petition. One question is whether the Commission can craft a general rule of universal nationwide applicability on detention, demurrage, and per diem provisions given the wide variety of commercial terms and conditions that are incorporated into VOCC service contracts and in MTO tariffs nationwide to address various events and circumstances. A further consideration to be addressed is the various and disparate operating protocols used at the 250 plus marine terminal operators currently registered at the Commission."

The hearings will commence at 10:00 a.m. on both days and are tentatively scheduled to last through the end of each workday. The hearings will be held in the Commission’s Main Hearing Room, located at 800 North Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The Commission voted at its September 20, 2017 meeting to hold these hearings after receiving staff’s analysis of the 115 public comments received in this matter. Both the volume of correspondence and variety of issues raised by comment filers demonstrated the complexity of the issue being raised in the petition and the need to not only gain more information, but to have the opportunity to engage stakeholders directly to better understand their perspectives.

Commissioners will engage in lines of questioning based off the already established record, individual research they have done, and in response to testimony of the witnesses.

The hearings on Petition P4-16 will be open to the public to allow any interested parties to observe the proceedings in person. Additionally, the hearings will be webcast and a link to livestream the session will be published closer to the event date.