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      Public Policy Review & Analysis     

      Maritime Commerce Working Group

              We are taking a closer look at
              Public Policy and issues adversely affecting
              American competitiveness.

              We look to help eliminate and/or mitigate unfair practices,
              reducing risks inherent in the international Shipping Industry.

              Encouraging open, on-going and public discussion...
              ...can only help, to guide stakeholders in
              US Export/Import Maritime Commerce,
              facilitate trade, spur innovative thought
              and discourage unfair practices.

        The Maritime Commerce Working Group
        seeks to generate, and help the USG to implement...

          Fresh Ideas for Policy Development

        How can we best do this?
        Let's examine the pressing issues, one by one.

        Page One   |   Page Two

      FMC Hearing on Demurrage and Detention/Per Diem

      " The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has confirmed twenty-six people will testify as witnesses at public hearings on January 16 and 17 in Washington, DC on issues related to detention, demurrage, and per diem charges raised in FMC Petition P4-16, which was filed by the Coalition for Fair Port Practices in December 2016. Hearings are scheduled to commence at 10:00 a.m. on both days and interested members of the public are invited to attend or watch a webcast.

      These hearings will be organized into six panels focused on relevant topics with multiple speakers on each panel. The Coalition for Fair Port Practices will be the first panel, with six speakers. Separate panels representing cargo owners, ocean transportation intermediary (OTIs), drayage operators, ocean carriers, and marine terminals will follow. The FMC will be represented by its Acting Chairman, Michael Khouri, Commissioner Rebecca Dye, Commissioner Dan Maffei, and FMC staff.

      In Petition P4-16, The Coalition for Fair Port Practices proposes a new rule for adoption by the Commission, and also requests the Commission provide specific guidance as to the reasonableness of detention, demurrage, and per diem charges when port conditions prevent the timely pick up of cargo or the return of carrier equipment because of broad circumstances that are beyond the control of shippers, receivers, or drayage providers. The text of the rule proposed in Petition P4-16 would formally state it will be unreasonable for a common carrier or a marine terminal operator to fail to extend free time or to collect demurrage, detention or per diem fees for a period equal to the duration of the “disability” wherein shippers are prevented from tendering cargo or receiving equipment due to port congestion, port disruption, weather related events, or delays caused by governmental action or requirements.

      The FMC received comments on Petition No. P4-16 from over one hundred interested parties, including many in support of its aims. Several of the parties who drafted this petition will speak at these hearings along with representatives of import and export cargo owners, motor carriers, and OTIs who have submitted written comments in favor of it. These will include Richard Roche of Mohawk Global Logistics, who urged the FMC to initiate a proceeding to consider this important issue, and Peter Friedmann of the Agriculture & Commodities Transportation Coalition.

      The ocean carrier and marine terminal panels are dominated by opponents of Petition No. P4-16, including John Butler, CEO of the World Shipping Council, whose written comments urged the FMC to deny this petition, and John E. Crowley, Jr., Executive Director of the National Association of Waterfront Employers, who wrote the proposed rule is 'inconsistent with the Shipping Act’s stated purpose of establishing a non-discriminatory regulatory process with a minimum of government intervention and regulatory cost.'

      The Commission also welcomes written comments and statements for the record relative to the issues being addressed at the hearing from persons who are unable to testify in person. Written comment should be submitted to secretary@fmc.gov as a PDF file by January 26, 2018. Copies of all written submissions will be posted to the Commission’s website, https://www.fmc.gov/p4-16/ "

      attribution:   DPI Signals Newsletter

        (1) Read:

        The Petition   (December 7, 2016 / 210 pages, PDF)

        (2) Read:

        Stakeholder Comments and Requests
        (January 24, 2017 - December, 15 2017)


        The Testimony

      Coalition Panel

      WATCH HERE:  youtu.be/wweMtuZVXF4

      Shipper & Intermediary Panel

      WATCH HERE:  youtu.be/E57e6WygIDE

      Drayage & Ocean Carrier Panel

      WATCH HERE:  youtu.be/3QWJ5BhTltw

      Port and Terminals Panel

      WATCH HERE:  youtu.be/KhwtpKHO6f0

      Dateline: January 19, 2018
      Commission Concludes Hearing on Petition P4-16

      The Federal Maritime Commission concluded a two day hearing Wednesday that examined issues related to detention, demurrage, and per diem practices of marine terminal operators and container ship lines. Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri said the Commission will meet in closed session to discuss next steps soon after the hearing record is closed. Further information may be submitted for the record through Friday, January 26, 2018.

      The matters at the crux of the hearing were raised in a petition filed on December 7, 2016 by the Coalition for Fair Port Practices, an organization of trade associations representing shippers, ocean transportation intermediaries, and domestic transportation companies.

      The hearings were called by the Commission to gather information beyond what was presented in written comments filed in the docket, and to provide Commissioners with the benefit of direct questioning and dialog with the witnesses.

      "This hearing was informative and helped bring broader substance and clarity to the positions of the petitioners and those who oppose their filing. I appreciate the time the witnesses gave us and their excellent statements," Acting Chairman Khouri said. "This is a very complex issue that presents difficult choices. The question to be resolved is if the Commission, with a judicious hand, can help make things better, though we recognize, we will never be able to solve all the issues associated with the timely handoff of the container from carriers to shippers."

      In total, 26 different individuals testified on seven different panels during the hearing. Panels appearing before the Commission on Tuesday, January 16, represented the coalition that filed the petition, shippers, and intermediaries, all of whom testified in support of the petition. Panels for the second day represented the drayage industry, ocean carriers, and ports and terminals. The drayage industry witness supported the petition, while the witnesses on the carriers, ports, and terminals panels all testified in opposition to the petition.

      "As the Commission considers the Petition of the Fair Port Practices Coalition, my focus is how demurrage and detention approaches can optimize, not diminish, the performance of the American international freight delivery system. Improvements to demurrage and detention business processes may require closer cooperation and information visibility among ocean carriers, marine terminals, and American importers and exporters," said Commissioner Rebecca Dye.

      Commissioner Daniel Maffei commented that "Government can help the most and hinder the least when all sides are well represented. I want to compliment the witnesses who represented many areas of the industry, from shippers, truckers and intermediaries to carriers and port operators, and were all well prepared to answer the challenging and substantive questions that I and my colleagues asked. While no one may be completely happy with what we ultimately decide, the probability that we will be acting in the best interest of both international commerce and our country is greatly increased by the strong participation of all these groups."

      Following receipt of the petition, the Commission issued a Request for Comments on December 20, 2016 that closed on February 28, 2017, but continued to accept comments through April 2017. Over the summer of 2017, staff reviewed the comments filed in the docket, presenting its findings to the Commission during the regularly scheduled September 2017 meeting. On November 16, 2017, the Commission issued a Notice of Public Hearing announcing the hearing conducted this week.


            Participant in this Discussion:   Joseph Quinn (QCS/Sefco Export)
            Summary of Response   |   P4-16-SEFCO (PDF)   |   Email:   joseph.quinn@sefco-export.com
      All Participants are Encouraged to Send us a Summary or Copy of their Response(s) Suitable for Study & Public Distribution
      If Interested in continuing to participate in a broader policy discussion, to help formulate better public policy and build productive working relationships, send Mr. Quinn an email indicating your interest. We will try to develop a program that can continue the public discussion of issues related to Maritime Commerce and the Export/Import trades. It may be possible to sponsor further meetings and formal events in locations including New York, for rebroadcast on YouTube/other media. The purpose is to open a window on our work to opinion leaders, fellow tradesmen and, in particular, public officials.   |   If interested send us an Email.

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