Just before Thanksgiving, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) placed a news release on their website announcing the Commission’s plans to undertake a comprehensive study of the impact on the U.S. trades as a result of the elimination of shipping conferences by the European Union (EU).
The release stated, “The FMC Chairman acknowledges the significant impact the global downturn had on ports, carriers and other maritime interests.”
It’s possible that some of you (certainly not all) are not familiar with the FMC. So, just in case you aren’t, they are an independent regulatory agency responsible for the regulation of ocean transportation in the foreign commerce of the U.S.
Among other criteria, the FMC’s study will analyze changes in carrier market structures, competition, agreements, services, vessel capacity, rates and surcharges. Lastly, the Chairman specifically requested future shipper feedback by stating, “I cannot overemphasize the importance of input from the shipper community for the success of this study.”
For your review, below is a link to their website and a full copy of the release. It’s expected that their will be more details on their website about how shippers can participate early in 2010.
More recently, and also of significance, President Obama announced intentions to nominate Louisville attorney Michael A. Khouri to serve as the Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission. This seat had previously been vacant. According to Logistics Management, “News from U.S Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office today confirmed that President Obama will nominate Michael A. Khouri to serve as the FMC’s fourth commissioner. Khouri, who was recommended by McConnell and currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 35 years of experience in the maritime industry.” Below is a link to the Journal of Commerce highlighting the announcement.
So, that’s the latest news from the FMC. What does this all mean? Or, how will it affect you? We suspect many of you have strong opinions on the matter.