Monday, April 11, 2022

US Authority Public Meeting May be Worth Looking at As Ocean Carriers Come Under the Spotlight

FMC Has Supply Chain Data in its Sights
Shipping News Feature

US – What in normal times might have been considered a useful, if somewhat innocuous public, online discussion due to take place tomorrow 12 April may have a little more bite given the topic and the participants.

Back in December 2021 Federal Maritime Commissioner Chairman Daniel B. Maffei appointed Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel to spearhead an initiative which will focus on identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies. The plan was, and is, to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders around the industry.

Under the title ‘FMC Data Initiative’ several such meetings would address the problems and delays and comprehensively examine each link in the delivery system. Beginning with the drayage situation, the menu so far has included warehousing, railroads, freight forwarders and NVOCC’s, longshore matters and marine terminals.

The next gathering however is with the big ocean carriers, a group firmly in the FMC spotlight at the moment, and somewhat obliquely, accused of collaboration in the matter of charges and tariffs. Many in the industry may wish to hear what is being said, and all have the opportunity using THIS LINK.

Although the matter in hand is data related this of course impinges directly on the state of container shipping, something the FMC, along with many others worldwide, are very concerned about. Since the decision to launch the data initiative we have seen the FMC bare its teeth with the passing of HR 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021.

The full llist of scheduled participants is a who’s who of containerised ocean transport reading as it does:

  • Andre Simha—Global Chief Digital & Information Officer—MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company
  • Violeta Chan—Business Coordination Department, Evergreen Shipping Agency (America) Corp.
  • Andrew Donohue—Vice President, Customer Service, OOCL
  • Sandeep Govil—Head of North America Revenue Management, Hapag-Lloyd
  • John Lauer—Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Matson
  • John Stone—Vice President, BPIT Strategy & Innovation, Ocean Network Express North America

There will be a further summit with carriers next week (19 April) and no meetings in May whilst Commissioner Bentzel assimilates all that has been discussed and the project will culminate on 1 June with a Data Summit to finalise what has been illustrated and look at the possibility for beneficial changes.

Photo: Commissioner Bentzel taking the FMC oath of office in 2019.