The Federal Maritime Commission on Thursday accepted the final report from a nine-month investigation into vessel capacity and equipment shortages. The commission will form committees to follow up.
The report itself remains under wraps to protect the confidentiality of carriers, shippers and intermediaries who offered testimony. Last March the FMC designated Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye to begin a probe of capacity and equipment after shippers complained that carriers were constraining vessel capacity to artificially raise rates, reneging on service contracts and not providing containers for shippers in mid-America.
To address problems that the investigation brought to light, the commission will organize working groups for ocean transportation and intermodal container availability. The ocean transportation group will be composed of carriers and shippers and will look at commercial practices of both groups, export capacity forecasting, and ways to improve relationships between carriers and shippers.
The intermodal container working group will look at ways to improve access and availability of containers. The commission will also develop an outreach project to help small exporters and importers improve service contracting practices.
The FMC also will carry on its "rapid response" program, in which commission staff will try to settle contract disputes before they escalate to litigation. The agency also will continue its close scrutiny of meetings among members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement and Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement and other global carrier alliances.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org.