Tuesday, January 20, 2015

FMC: Port Congestion a Priority in 2015

By Mark Edward Nero

US Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero announced to staff on Jan. 13 that his priority for the Commission in 2015 is addressing congestion issues that are plaguing the nation’s ports.

Numerous ports across America have been affected by terminal congestion in 2014 and early 2015, most notably the adjoining port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two largest, busiest seaports in North America.

Terminal management for West Coast ports has blamed the backlogs in part on work slowdowns orchestrated by organized labor, but labor has stated that “managerial mistakes,” including chassis shortages and a lack of dock space for containers is to blame.

Last September, FMC commissioners began to lead public forums concerning port congestion and international supply chain efficiency issues. Cordero said that this focus is in keeping with the Commission’s 2014-2018 strategic plan, which was unveiled in November 2013 and includes in its goals maintaining “an efficient and competitive” ocean transport system.

“Among the Commission’s statutory goals is the assurance of an efficient ocean transportation system,” Cordero said. “The efficient operation of the nation’s ports is squarely within that mandate and paramount to the Commission’s responsibilities. As we move forward, I look forward to a thorough review of the issues and views that have been provided from various maritime industry stakeholders.”

Cordero also said the Maritime Commission would continue its role in “protecting the shipping public and addressing unreasonable or unjust practices by carriers or marine terminal operators.”