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Biden picks Maffei to chair Federal Maritime Commission

Commission member takes helm as agency grapples with port congestion, container ship management practices

(Photos: Daniel Maffei/LinkedIn and Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

President Joe Biden has named Daniel Maffei, a commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), to lead the agency as chairman.

Maffei replaces Michael Khouri, who had been designated chairman by former President Donald Trump.

Maffei acknowledged he is taking the agency’s helm amid significant container supply chain disruptions and related concerns over container ship rates and service.

“I am grateful and humbled by the confidence President Biden has placed in me by appointing me Chairman at such a critical time for our nation’s supply chain,” Maffei commented on the leadership change.

“Due to the effects of COVID-19 and an unprecedented import boom, we are dealing with serious challenges to America’s international ocean transportation system — challenges that the FMC has a vital role in addressing, both on its own as an independent agency and in cooperation with other agencies.”

Maffei, who served two terms as a U.S. representative from New York, also served in the Department of Commerce during the Obama administration. Earlier in his career, he worked as a Capitol Hill aide and as a broadcast reporter.

Maffei and Commissioner Carl Bentzel have recently been taking up causes for both dockworkers and U.S. exporters, writing directly to the White House to prioritize vaccines in the maritime sector and pressuring container lines to investigate their management practices following complaints from agribusiness shippers of service failures.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.