FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said Monday that the commission agreed by unanimous vote with his recommendation to issue an order directing Commissioner Dye to create the teams that will involve stakeholders who do business at or with the San Pedro Bay ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Dye was also directed to identify potential commercial solutions to certain unresolved problems that may interfere in the future with the reliable operation of the U.S. supply chain.
Dye and Cordero visited California ports last month and participated in a meeting of the supply chain optimization teams that the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have created.
Cordero said Dye would address the FMC project in greater detail at the FMC’s next public meeting on Feb. 18, adding that Dye’s work will be separate and distinct from the competition analysis being conducted by the FMC’s Bureau of Trade Analysis of PierPASS’s off-peak gates program.
"Commissioner Dye has been designated to undertake a broader effort to address congestion-related bottlenecks and other supply chain efficiency issues," said Cordero. "In effect, her work will be the next significant step in the Commission’s efforts to encourage collaborative, innovative supply chain integration efforts that we initiated through our regional port forums” that were held in 2014 in ports around the country.
"Their message is clear," she said. "We need to assemble a committed team of industry leaders who, by stepping outside of their usual silos, will identify commercial solutions that enhance supply chain effectiveness, reliability, and resilience."
Dye stressed that the FMC is not proposing regulatory solutions, but rather is seeking to assemble working teams of industry leaders to develop commercial innovations that would support adaptive and resilient supply chain systems.
"I recently visited both San Pedro ports," she added, "and had a chance to see the fine work undertaken by the port directors as part of their Supply Chain Optimization Groups. They’ve made an excellent start, and I expect their efforts will continue to bear fruit. Our supply chain team project is intended to complement, not interfere with, the progress being made at the two ports."
In an interview last month with American Shipper, Cordero said a major focus of the FMC in 2016 would be port congestion and “making sure that we listen to the stakeholders regarding effective and fair regulation.”
Many shippers expressed dismay over being hit with large detention and demurrage charges and not being able to retrieve containers in a timely fashion at ports on the West Coast during the congestion that developed during the protracted negotiations between employers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union during 2014 and early 2015.
Cordero noted that the FMC’s Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) office mediated approximately 250 disputes related to congestion-related detention and demurrage complaints and many other complaints that did not reach the mediation stage. The 250 disputes involved about $667,000 in charges.
He added that the FMC is developing a legislative agenda for the coming year and said, “I suspect that on the agenda will be this whole issue of demurrage and detention.”