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Last week, Commissioner Daniel B. Maffei voted to allow the recently-filed World Shipping Council (WSC) agreement to take effect, without Commission intervention. His statement on the agreement follows:

The cooperative working agreement filed by the World Shipping Council authorizes the parties to discuss, communicate, and cooperate on environmental and climate-related matters, legal and regulatory matters, and industry positions to be taken with respect to international treaties, governmental requirements, and safety and security matters.

Cooperation between the members of the World Shipping Council will enable them to develop voluntary and transparent best practices, particularly in the environmental arena, where there is a serious need for the industry to work together to address climate change. Eventual decarbonization is of the utmost importance and having the combined expertise of members of the Council will enable the industry to make strides towards implementing the most responsible environmentally-friendly operations possible.

In recent remarks that I made at the virtual Global Liner Shipping Conference, I mentioned this agreement in the context of cooperative working agreements for developing best practices on decarbonization. I cited this agreement as an example of a way that the industry could work collaboratively on decarbonization best practices without running afoul of the Shipping Act’s prohibition on participating in both vessel sharing and rate setting agreements. Specifically, this agreement would not permit parties to discuss component rate setting, such as a bunker fuel adjustment, which would violate the Shipping Act.

Since this agreement clearly stays on the right side of the line, I am happy it is taking effect. I applaud the WSC for its ongoing prioritization of decarbonization efforts and look forward to seeing how its leadership can help move the whole industry forward in this vital area.

Daniel B. Maffei 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.

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