• ITVI.USA
    15,482.400
    -11.800
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.070
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,440.270
    -7.500
    0%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,482.400
    -11.800
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.070
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,440.270
    -7.500
    0%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

FMC nears finalization of supply chain innovation report

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) plans to wrap up work on its industry-based supply chain innovation project and present the results in a report this fall, according to FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye.

   U.S. Federal Maritime Commission plans to wrap up the work of its industry-based supply chain innovation project and present its results in a report this fall.
   The initiative, which has been led by FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye since its start in May 2016, was launched in response to the gridlock experienced in many U.S. container ports in 2014 and 2015 as the ocean carriers introduced larger ships to the U.S. trades, which caused severe peaks and valleys in cargo flows. Another compounding factor was the labor dispute between management and dockworkers on the West Coast which left many carriers and shippers scrambling to find alternative ports and transport modes to get cargo delivered. 
   In response to these problems, several port authorities established working groups that included representatives from all parts of the supply chain to tackle inefficiencies and try to prevent future meltdowns. The FMC’s initiative, however, attempts to address this issue more holistically on a national level, rather than regionally.
   “The goal of our project is to use information technology to provide critical information visibility to major supply chain actors, allowing them to act in harmony, not at cross purposes, in the supply chain ‘ecosystem,’” Dye told attendees of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Government Affairs Conference on Monday.
   She warned, however, that “IT systems that allow information sharing are expensive, and we must be careful to define the types of information–not data–we want to share and the reason we want to share it.”
   Numerous representatives—from shippers and carriers to intermediaries and consultants—participated in the import and export supply chain innovation teams. 
   “To increase supply chain systemic visibility, we asked our teams to identify critical pieces of information that they need, and not large data bases used by liners or port terminals for their own business purposes,” Dye said.
   She explained that the task was not as easy. “It required supply chain actors, especially cargo owners, to carefully identify what they need to know, when they need to know it, and why,” she said.
   Dye noted that for U.S. importers the main question is “when can I pick up my container from the marine terminal?” Exporters, on the other hand, want to know when and where they can get an export container and when to deliver that loaded box to the marine terminal.
   “Those questions are not only difficult to develop, they are difficult to answer,” Dye said. “To tell a cargo owner when an import container is available for pick up, for example, a marine terminal must know about chassis availability, terminal yard operations and other port activities, among other things.
   “These underlying challenges have to be addressed before critical information can be made available,” she added.
   Dye said that she has received positive feedback for the supply chain innovation project from both the industry participants and congressional committees on Capitol Hill.
   It’s the goal of the FMC, once the report is published, to obtain authorization for a concept design for a national seaport information portal.
   “The overall purpose of the project is to develop commercial solutions to supply chain challenges, not government regulatory requirements,” Dye said.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.
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