FMC to report on one study; begins another
The Federal Maritime Commission said Thursday that it will update the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, June 30, on its fact-finding investigation into vessel capacity and equipment availability in U.S. export and import trades.
Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr. and Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye will address the subcommittee. Dye, who is heading up the capacity investigation for the FMC, briefed her fellow commissioners during a closed FMC meeting on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the FMC said this week it would undertake another fact-finding investigation into “Potentially Unlawful, Unfair or Deceptive Ocean Transportation Practices Related to the Movement of Household Goods or Personal Property in U.S.-Foreign Oceanborne Trades.”
The FMC said from 2005 to 2009 it received more than 2,500 consumer complaints from individuals related to moving.
“Typical complaints allege:
' 'Failure to deliver the cargo and refusal to return prepaid ocean freight.
' 'Loss of cargo.
' 'Significant delay in delivery.
' 'Charges to the shipper for marine insurance that was never obtained.
' 'Misinformation as to the whereabouts of the cargo.
' 'Significantly inflated charges after the cargo was tendered and threats to withhold the shipment unless the increased freight was paid.
' 'Failure to pay the common carrier engaged by the company as another intermediary.
'In many cases, a shipper has been forced to pay another carrier or warehouse a second time in order to have the cargo released,” the FMC said.
It added individuals and companies have held themselves out to perform ocean transportation to the public and accepted responsibility for the transportation of these shipments without obtaining an Ocean Transportation Intermediary license and providing required proof of financial responsibility to the FMC. It said in many cases, “these individuals and corporations operate without publishing a tariff showing its rates and charges, and do not observe just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing or delivering property.”
Commissioner Michael A. Khouri has been designated as the fact-finding officer for the household goods investigation. He has authority to hold public or non-public sessions, to resort to all compulsory process authorized by law (including the ability to issue subpoenas, administer oaths, and require reports).
Khouri will issue an interim report of findings and recommendations by Nov. 15, and issue a final report of findings and recommendations by Feb. 15, 2011. ' Chris Dupin