As we begin the New Year, I want to give a public recognition of thanks to all of my work colleagues, and those in the shipping industry, who have persevered through the pandemic and worked to retain some semblance of normalcy during this unique period of history. We have major challenges still to overcome to right-side the supply chain, but I think that there is a new awareness and appreciation of the value and importance of the maritime and intermodal shipping industry. Even with immense challenges related to congestion, record volumes of cargo were delivered and appreciated during the holiday season.
I want to thank Chairman Daniel B. Maffei for asking me to lead the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI). Over the past year, he and I have had numerous discussions about the need to garner greater efficiency of movement in the existing port infrastructure, given constraints in available infrastructure expansion. We will have a busy, but no doubt exciting 2022, and I want to provide an update on next steps for FMC’s efforts to identify clear maritime data standards and a harmonized lexicon to be used throughout the supply chain.
It is clear that maritime data must be harmonized so that freight can move more efficiently in the 21st century. Over the last year and a half during the pandemic, I have convened roundtables and met with stakeholders in our major freight gate ways in response to supply chain congestion. I would like to thank all the contributing stakeholders for their willingness to offer suggestions as to how the industry can do better to overcome congestion related challenges.
Collectively, stakeholders in the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York/New Jersey, Ports in the South Atlantic region, the Port of Houston and the Inland Port of Utah have said that better data management within the supply chain is long overdue and will help prevent future congestion.
In 2022, I will have an aggressive schedule of weekly industry meetings, starting Tuesday January 11th at 3pm (EST) with the warehouse and distribution industry. Every Tuesday at 3pm (EST) thereafter, I will be convening meetings leading up to the FMC Data Summit in June 2022. It is my sincere hope that the FMC will be able to develop recommendations for common data standards and access policies/protocols that could be used in international container shipping. This is long overdue.
These will be public meetings and will be posted online. I welcome the public to contribute comments in response to individual meetings, or generically, at our FMC email address on data to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.