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Shippers not content with FMC

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
December 10, 2010

To no one’s surprise, The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) announced its profound disappointment late last week in the Federal Maritime Commission?s (FMC) conclusions reached in the agency’s “Fact Finding Investigation No. 26.

As I have been reporting over the past several months,
the investigation was ordered by the Commission?s Chairman, Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., on March 17, 2010 in response to a flood of complaints from U.S. importers and exporters who experienced service disruptions, rolled cargoes, abrogated service contracts and virtually uniform rate and surcharge increases from carriers in the transpacific trades.

The turmoil in the two-way Pacific trades occurred over an extended period beginning in late 2009 and well into 2010. Shippers’ deep concerns over perceived malpractices by ocean carriers led to widespread calls for this investigation.

Two Congressional hearings before the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were also held as a result of their complaints.

Could it be that the FMC is actually more concerned with ensuring that a sustainable shipping service is in place when the anticipated surge in cargo demand becomes reality?

Meanwhile another appointment to the commission is pending, and the leading candidate comes from the Port of Long Beach. Our guess is that when the FMC has a “full bench,” carriers will have their position strengthened as well.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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