The Federal Maritime Commission yesterday approved a Supplemental Order that expands the authority of Fact Finding 29, “International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement”. The Supplemental Order authorizes Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye, as the designated Fact Finding Officer, to investigate ocean carriers operating in alliances and calling the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles, or the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The expanded Commission investigation will seek to determine if the policies and practices of those shipping companies related to detention and demurrage, container return, and container availability for U.S. export cargoes violate 46 U.S.C. 41102(c).
Commissioner Dye made the following statement in response to the Commission’s Supplemental Order:
“The time has come to resolve the most serious impediments to port performance. I’d like to thank my fellow Commissioners for their support of the Supplemental Order for Fact Finding 29, as I focus the investigation on the extreme conditions in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey. The Order emphasizes I, as Fact Finding Officer, have all enforcement options at my disposal to address the crisis that exists in our major port gateways.
The Commission has a compelling responsibility to investigate the situations that currently exist in our major port gateways. The Commission is concerned that certain practices of ocean carriers and their marine terminals may be amplifying the negative effect of bottlenecks at these ports and may be contrary to provisions in the Shipping Act of 1984. The potentially unreasonable practices of carriers and marine terminals regarding container return, export containers, and demurrage and detention charges in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey present a serious risk to the ability of the United States to handle trade growth.
Removing the obstacles to port performance allows ocean carriers, ports and marine terminals, drayage truckers, American importers and exporters, and every other business engaged in freight delivery to grow and prosper.”