This fireside chat recap is from Day 7 of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week.
FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Managing the storm: The FMC’s role in addressing the container shortage.
DETAILS: Booming imports and the effects of COVID-19 are straining container supply chains while causing transportation rates to surge and port congestion to worsen. This fireside chat features Federal Maritime Commissioner Carl Bentzel in a discussion about the Federal Maritime Commission’s role in this unprecedented confluence of events and the options the agency has to deal with it.
SPEAKER: Carl Bentzel, commissioner, U.S. Federal Maritime Commission
BIO: Prior to his appointment at the Federal Maritime Commission in 2019, Bentzel worked in both the public and private sectors. He established a consulting services company, where he represented clients on regulatory and legislative issues in transportation, energy and other areas of federal regulatory oversight.
Before his consulting work, Bentzel served for 10 years as a Senate professional committee staffer, including as senior Democratic counsel of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
KEY QUOTES FROM CARL BENTZEL:
“There have been substantial rate increases, especially on the spot market, where you’re seeing a doubling — and in some cases even a tripling — of container rates. We need to continue to monitor that.”
“We can take action if it gets to a point where we determine [rates] are unreasonable. It’s a little challenging, because eight of the past 10 years the carriers didn’t make money. So you’re looking potentially at a market correction.”
“We have authority over cargo misdeclaration, so we can look at issues where someone has intentionally mislabeled cargo to get a better rate. If this has contributed to vessel instability [resulting in lost containers at sea], it could be something that we look at.”