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American Shipper

DHS picks diverse membership for COAC

DHS picks diverse membership for COAC

   A federally chartered committee of industry experts relied on by the Department of Homeland Security for advice on trade implications of regulations governing customs and cargo security will have representatives from the maritime sector for the first time.

   Chris Koch, president of the World Shipping Council, and Peggy Rutledge, compliance manager for ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd (America) Inc., both confirmed they have been selected for a two-year term on the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations (COAC). The World Shipping Council represents more than 40 liner carriers serving the U.S. market.

   The new members of the 20-member body have been notified of their appointments, but an official announcement has been delayed until the formal charter can be signed by top DHS and Treasury Department officials. DHS spokesman Dennis Murphy said an official announcement about the committee membership is likely this week, but could possibly spill over to next week. The first meeting of the new COAC term is scheduled for Feb. 15 in Washington.

   Bruce Leeds, senior export/import advisor for The Boeing Co., and Federico “Kiko” Zuniga, president of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, confirmed they also have been named to COAC. Others close to the committee said another new member is Jonathan Gold, vice president of international trade policy for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

   COAC members typically come from individual companies and trade association representatives were not part of the committee during the last term.

   COAC members are eligible to serve two two-year terms, and half of the committee is comprised of so-called incumbents who were invited back by DHS.

   Returning members include:

   * Marian Ladner, a Houston based trade attorney for Strasburger & Price.

   * Kevin Smith, director of customs for General Motors (who confirmed he was re-appointed).

   * Sandra Fallgatter, with J.C. Penney.

   * Scott Johnson, director of trade compliance for Gap Inc.

   * Thomas Travis, partner in trade law firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg.

   * Robert Schueler Jr. of Delphi Corp.

   * Mary Jo Muoio, senior vice president, Barthco International Inc., a forwarder and logistics provider.

   * Norman Schenk, UPS.

   * Karen Phillips, vice president of public and government affairs, Canadian National.

   Phillips said she is acting as the liaison between the government and COAC, at the request of the previous COAC, to help provide continuity. Angela Gittens was not asked back because she no longer is aviation director for Miami International Airport.

   Koch was also recently selected by DHS to serve on the new National Maritime Security Advisory Committee, modeled on COAC, to provide advice on national maritime security strategy and policy. That committee’s mandate technically includes cargo, raising questions of whether the committees will overlap in some areas of work.

   This is the first COAC that has been appointed by DHS. COAC originally was created by the Treasury Department as an advisory body to the U.S. Customs Service. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Customs was transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security.

   The selection process has taken longer than normal in part because there are more players with a stake in COAC and DHS officials are vetting selections closely as cargo security has become a high visibility issue.