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Statement of Commissioner Bentzel on the South Atlantic Chassis Pool Agreement

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Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel voted to allow the amendment adding the Ports of Jacksonville and Wilmington to join the South Atlantic Chassis Pool Agreement (the Agreement). Joining the agreement will allow these ports to benefit from the system of managing chassis utilization and implementing chassis roadability upgrades. Allowing this amendment to move forward will allow Jacksonville and Wilmington to better help manage chassis availability and safety, and to increase efficiency in the deployment of chassis resources.His statement follows:

“I am pleased that the Federal Maritime Commission has allowed this amendment to go into effect, and I believe that it will help the Ports of Wilmington and Jacksonville as they work with other Agreement partners to enhance management efficiencies and upgrade chassis equipment so they are safer for public use. I would urge the Agreement partners to work closely with chassis lessors to help overcome the logistical challenges caused by trade imbalances and natural market fluctuations.

The Commission has authority over international liner shipping intermodal practices under the auspices of 46 U.S.C. § 40301(a)(1), which applies to ocean common carrier agreements filed to “regulate transportation rates, including through rates, cargo space accommodations and other conditions of service.” Further, the Shipping Act defines “through transportation” as “continuous transportation between origin and destination for which a through rate is assessed and which is offered or performed by one or more carriers, at least one of which is a common carrier, between a United States port or point and a foreign port or point.” The Commission is required to review agreements to determine if they are likely to cause, by reduction in competition, an “unreasonable reduction in transportation service or an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or to substantially lessen competition in the purchasing of certain covered services.”

In my view, this agreement does not satisfy the threshold determination necessary to take legal action in District Court.

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.