International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement; Order, 6263-6264 [2016-02189]

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 24 (Friday, February 5, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6263-6264]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02189]


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FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION


International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement; Order

    Pursuant to the Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. 40101 et seq. 
(Shipping Act), the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC or Commission) 
regulates the U.S. international ocean transportation system that 
supports the transportation of goods by water. The purposes of the 
Shipping Act include the requirements to ``provide an efficient and 
economic transportation system in the ocean commerce of the United 
States that is, insofar as possible, in harmony with, and responsive 
to, international shipping practices,'' and also ``to promote the 
growth and development of United States exports through competitive and 
efficient ocean transportation and by placing a greater reliance on the 
marketplace.''
    In carrying out its broad responsibilities under the Shipping Act 
with respect to ocean common carriers, U.S. ports, marine terminal 
operators, ocean transportation intermediaries and the American 
exporters and importers they serve, the Commission has developed an 
understanding of and an expertise in evaluating the U.S. international 
supply chain. As the premier competition agency with oversight 
responsibilities for the United States foreign ocean transportation 
system, the Commission has extensive experience with global maritime 
and marine terminal innovation and efficiency issues.
    Maintaining the effectiveness and reliability of America's global 
supply chain is critically important to the Nation's continued economic 
vitality. Approximately $980 billion of containerized ocean commerce 
moves through U.S. ports annually. Unfortunately, congestion and 
related bottlenecks at ports and other points in the Nation's supply 
chain have become a serious risk to the growth of the U.S. economy, job 
growth, and to our Nation's competitive position in the world. Past 
congestion at major U.S. ports has highlighted the impact of congestion 
on the U.S. economy. As a result, the U.S. economy suffered billions of 
dollars in losses to the supply chain.
    In addition, congestion problems contributed to hundreds of 
millions of dollars in losses for U.S. agricultural exporters including 
poultry and meat farmers. Perishable fruit and vegetable exporters 
suffered when their cargo was not loaded onto ships and sent overseas 
within specific time frames.
    Although the congestion crisis has receded, unresolved supply chain 
problems that could produce new challenges remain.
    In response to those events, and the desire of affected parties to 
find ways to prevent or mitigate similar future occurrences, the 
Commission hosted four regional port forums during the fall of 2014, in 
San Pedro, CA (West Coast Port Forum), Baltimore, MD (Mid-Atlantic and 
Northeast Port Forum), Charleston, SC (South Atlantic Port Forum) and 
New Orleans, LA (Gulf Coast Port Forum). The forums brought together 
port officials, ocean carriers, trucking and warehousing service 
providers, beneficial cargo owners, marine terminal operators, 
stevedoring companies, ocean transportation intermediaries, and port 
labor to discuss and offer ideas to address port congestion. The 
comments and suggestions offered at those forums were summarized and 
developed in an FMC report entitled ``U.S. Port Congestion & Related 
International Supply Chain Issues: Causes, Consequences and 
Challenges'' that was released in July 2015.
    The report identified six major themes from the port forums: 
Investment and planning; chassis availability and related issues; port 
drayage and truck turn times; extended gate hours, PierPASS, and 
congestion pricing; vessel and terminal operations; and supply chain 
planning, collaboration, and communication. Some of these topics 
involve longer-term issues such as investment and planning. Others 
focus on short and medium-term concerns. All of them, however, are at 
the heart of current efforts by various groups to develop the flexible, 
resilient and reliable systems necessary for ensuring well-functioning 
international supply chains.
    The Commission has also advanced port and marine terminal efforts 
to improve supply chain efficiency by expediting the implementation of 
port and terminal amendments aimed at enhancing the efficient flow of 
cargo. For example, several port and marine terminal operator 
agreements on file with the Commission that cover the Pacific Coast 
ports, commit the parties to exploring measures for achieving 
improvements with regard to congestion, efficiency, fluidity, and other 
operational conditions.*
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    * The Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Infrastructure and 
Environmental Programs Cooperative Working Agreement (FMC No. 
201219), West Coast MTO Agreement (FMC No. 201143), Pacific Ports 
Operational Improvements Agreement (FMC No. 201227), Ocean Carrier 
Equipment Management Association (FMC No. 202-011284), and Los 
Angeles/Long Beach Port Terminal Operator Administrative and 
Implementation Agreement (FMC No. 201178).
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    Given the economic importance of reliable port and terminal 
operations to the effectiveness of the United States international 
supply chain, and the Commission's mandate to ensure an efficient and 
economic transportation system for its ocean commerce, the Commission 
has a clear and compelling

[[Page 6264]]

responsibility to actively assist efforts to improve the effectiveness 
of the global supply chain.
    Therefore it is ordered, That, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 41302, 40302, 
41101 to 41109, 41301 to 41309, and 40104, and 46 CFR 502.281 et seq., 
Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye engage supply chain stakeholders in public 
or non-public discussions to identify commercial solutions to certain 
unresolved supply chain issues that interfere with the smooth operation 
of the U.S. international supply chain, focusing on the San Pedro Bay 
ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach.
    It is further ordered, That, the Commissioner form a supply chain 
innovation team, composed of leaders from all commercial sectors of the 
U.S. international supply chain, to develop commercial solutions to 
port congestion and related supply chain challenges.
    It is further ordered, That, the Commissioner provide a preliminary 
report and periodic updates to the Commission on the results of efforts 
undertaken by this Order.
    It is further ordered, That, the Commissioner have full authority 
under 46 CFR 502.281 to 502.291, to perform such duties as may be 
necessary in accordance with U.S. law and Commission regulations. The 
Commissioner will be assisted by staff members as may be assigned by 
the Chairman.
    It is further ordered, That, this Proceeding be discontinued upon 
the acceptance of a final report and possible recommendations by the 
Commissioner, unless otherwise ordered by the Commission; and
    It is finally ordered, That, notice of this Order be published in 
the Federal Register.

    By The Commission.
Karen V. Gregory,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2016-02189 Filed 2-4-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6730-01-P