FMC building case for new container data-sharing rules

WASHINGTON — The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking another round of comments from container line operators and their customers as part of its quest to build the case for potential new mandates on container shipment data sharing.

The FMC wants to supplement an information request issued last year along with a May 2023 report on the agency’s Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI). That project, led by Commissioner Carl Bentzel, attempts to measure the extent to which shipment data is...

FMC fears glut of container fee disputes after Baltimore bridge collapse

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators are bracing for disputes over container fees caused by routing cancellations in the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

Shortly after the collapse early on March 26 that closed the Port of Baltimore, MSC, the world’s largest ocean carrier, advised customers that containers en route to the port would be diverted for unloading at alternate U.S. East Coast ports, and that the carriage contract would be declared terminated at the alternate port instead of...

Cracking the supply chain data code

The government typically is not the preferred place for creative ways to improve how private businesses operate, but Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel may be changing that as he leads an effort to make freight supply chains work much better.

Bentzel has held weekly meetings over the last four months as part of the FMC’s Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) aimed at finding consensus among various industry players on data transparency to improve cargo flow.

Importers, exporters,...

FMC commissioner red-flags Congress on China’s container monopoly

The results of a yearlong investigation into China’s monopoly over ocean container production are being highlighted to lawmakers to illustrate the potential threat to the U.S. economy.

Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel, who released a report on the investigation publicly on Wednesday, wants to spark a policy debate on the long-term implications of the country’s “complete reliance” on Chinese container manufacturing.

“Chinese container manufacturing clearly took steps together to suppress...

FMC pressuring ocean carriers to boost exports

The Federal Maritime Commission will consider taking regulatory action against ocean carriers that are not providing sufficient services to U.S. exporters and their overseas markets.

The FMC announced the stepped-up pressure on Monday as part of an expansion of the agency’s Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Audit Program, which the FMC launched last year to assess the market power of the nine largest container carriers operating in U.S. markets. 

The audit program will begin evaluating how shipping...

Can a government-brokered supply chain exchange succeed?

The Biden administration is attacking supply chain data gaps from both land and sea: One campaign is being led by the Federal Maritime Commission, the other by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

But given the amount of confidential information that currently flows throughout freight markets, can a supply chain data portal succeed if the federal government is involved?

“Certainly the government has a strong role in providing some sort of push in making sure a supply chain data exchange works,...

FMC Commissioner Bentzel’s grade on US logistics system: D-plus

The current supply chain crisis will be the subject of a series of hearings led by Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel beginning on Tuesday when the FMC will begin laying the framework. The meetings will be with industry and public partners on maritime data infrastructure. Meetings with specific port participants begin next week.

In an exclusive interview, Bentzel tells American Shipper that to resolve the current supply chain crisis, not only is new physical infrastructure needed but...

FMC to study how data can speed container delivery

The Federal Maritime Commission will attempt to pinpoint how data can help speed the flow of containers through the supply chain in an initiative to be spearheaded by Commissioner Carl Bentzel.

The multi-phased effort, announced on Monday, “will propose recommendations for common data standards used by the international shipping supply chain, as well as access policies and protocols that would streamline information sharing across the ocean supply chain,” according to the FMC.

Initial findings...

US regulators balk at billion-dollar takeover of Ports America

Two U.S. Federal Maritime commissioners concerned about foreign ownership of American supply chains want federal officials to conduct a “full and thorough review” of the proposed purchase of Ports America by a Canadian pension fund.

In a letter sent last week to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, FMC Commissioners Carl Bentzel and Louis Sola warned that the proposed acquisition by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) could run counter to U.S. economic interests.


Regulators eye new container-fee rules to address alleged overcharging

In the wake of complaints that ocean carriers are overcharging customers, federal regulators are considering new rules related to fees imposed by ocean carriers for the use of their containers by shippers.

The Federal Maritime Commission voted last week to solicit public comments on two questions:

  • Whether the commission should require ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators to include certain minimum information on or with demurrage and detention billings.
  • Whether the commission...

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